Suppressive surrounds and contrast gain in magnocellular-pathway retinal ganglion cells of macaque

Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 09/2006; 26(34):8715-26. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0821-06.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The modulation sensitivity of visual neurons can be influenced by remote stimuli which, when presented alone, cause no change in the ongoing discharge rate of the neuron. We show here that the extraclassical surrounds that underlie these effects are present in magnocellular-pathway (MC) but not in parvocellular-pathway (PC) retinal ganglion cells of the macaque. The response of MC cells to drifting gratings and flashing spots was halved by drifting or contrast-reversing gratings surrounding their receptive fields, but PC cell responses were unaffected. The suppression cannot have arisen from the classical receptive field, or been caused by scattered light, because it could be evoked by annuli that themselves caused little or no response from the cell, and is consistent with the action of a divisive suppressive mechanism. Suppression in MC cells was broadly tuned for spatial and temporal frequency and greater at high contrast. If perceptual phenomena with similar stimulus contexts, such as the "shift effect" and saccadic suppression, have a retinal component, then they reflect the activity of the MC pathway.

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