Binocular convergence of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic pathways onto neurons of cat visual cortex

David Ferster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


When a cortical neuron receives synaptic input from both eyes, do the synaptic pathways that mediate the input from each eye match? In this study, inputs from the two eyes were compared by measuring the latencies of EPSPs and IPSPs evoked by electrical stimulation of the two optic nerves. For binocular neurons, these latencies invariably matched closely, indicating that the pathways from the two eyes contain the same number of synapses; monosynaptic input from lamina A of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) is always matched by monosynaptic input from lamina Al. Conversely, polysynaptic input from one eye, either excitatory or inhibitory, is invariably accompanied by similar input from the other eye. In addition, the match between the two eyes in latency indicates that for each eye a synaptic potential is mediated by the same type of afferent, either X or Y. Judging from intracellular recording, 75% of the neurons studied were binocular, that is, EPSPs could be evoked from either eye. In the remaining 25%, EPSPs could be evoked from only one eye, in agreement with extracellular receptive field studies in which 30% of cortical neurons are monocular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-629
Number of pages5
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990


  • Binocularity
  • Ocular dominance
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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