Direction selectivity of excitation and inhibition in simple cells of the cat primary visual cortex

Nicholas J. Priebe*, David Ferster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations

Abstract

Direction selectivity in simple cells of primary visual cortex, defined from their spike responses, cannot be predicted using linear models. It has been suggested that the shunting inhibition evoked by visual stimulation is responsible for the nonlinear component of direction selectivity. Cortical inhibition would suppress a neuron's firing when stimuli move in the nonpreferred direction, but would allow responses to stimuli in the preferred direction. Models of direction selectivity based solely on input from the lateral geniculate nucleus, however, propose that the nonlinear response is caused by spike threshold. By extracting excitatory and inhibitory components of synaptic inputs from intracellular records obtained in vivo, we demonstrate that excitation and inhibition are tuned for the same direction, but differ in relative timing. Further, membrane potential responses combine in a linear fashion. Spike threshold, however, quantitatively accounts for the nonlinear component of direction selectivity, amplifying the direction selectivity of spike output relative to that of synaptic inputs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalNeuron
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 6 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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