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Controle, par le cortex visuel, du groupe thalamique lateral posterieur chez le chat

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This study mainly concerns the influence of a cryogenic blockade of the primary visual cortex on some posterior thalamic structures in cats. Units were recorded from nn.lateralis posterior, pulvinar, suprageniculatum and the pretectal area; they were tested for their responses to restricted light spots and part of them also to sound. Cats were anaesthetized with chloralose.

  1. 1.

    The extent and characteristics of the visual receptive fields of these units had first to be evaluated in each case. Three different types of responses were identified (isolated burst, inhibition of spontaneous activity, burst + inhibition). The receptive fields were usually large (30 to 100 degrees), always including the foveae and generally displaying a concentric organization with on-off center and on or off periphery.

  2. 2.

    A local temporary cryogenic blockade of the primary visual area ipsilateral to the explored thalamus modified the responses of 75% of the cells tested therefore. These changes consisted in an increase in latency, a decrease in duration of the response (number of spikes or length of inhibition), sometimes leading to a complete temporary disappearance of the response.

  3. 3.

    Similar coolings applied to the contralateral visual cortex were also effective in 50% of the cells thus tested. This contralateral action is likely to take place via subcortical pathways, since it can still be observed after chronic section of the corpus callosum.

  4. 4.

    This control from the visual cortex seems to be modality specific; namely, in cases when cells were responding both to light and to sound, auditory responses were not affected by the cortical cooling.

  5. 5.

    Our conclusion is that the visual cortex exerts a sustained dynamogenic control over visual input into the lateral posterior thalamus.

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Richard, D., Ángyán, L. & Buser, P. Controle, par le cortex visuel, du groupe thalamique lateral posterieur chez le chat. Exp Brain Res 15, 386–404 (1972).

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Key words

  • Visual cortex
  • N. Lateralis posterior
  • Cortical control
  • Cortical cooling
  • Thalamus