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Functional organization of the corticofugal system from visual cortex to lateral geniculate nucleus in the cat

With an appendix on geniculo-cortical mono-synaptic connections

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  • 136 Citations


  1. 1.

    In the cat visual cortex (VC), electrophoretic glutamate application at a depth corresponding to layer VI may have excitatory or inhibitory effects on relay cells of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). Corticofugal excitation was seen, if the receptive field centers (RFCs) of the VC neurons recorded at the application site were within 2.3 ° of the RFCs of the LGN neurons under test. Inhibitory effects were seen if the RFCs of both cells were further apart up to 3.1 °. Glutamate application at more superficial cortical sites had no effect on LGN-neuron activity.

  2. 2.

    Cross-correlation analysis between spontaneous activities of simultaneously recorded VC and LGN neurons revealed excitatory cortico-geniculate connections in 18 pairs with RFCs separated by less than 1.7 °. In 15 pairs the peak latency of the excitation was 2–5 msec (3.4 msec in the average), 3 pairs showed long cortico-geniculate latencies (13–18 msec). The existence of a fast and slow cortico-geniculate system is suggested.

  3. 3.

    Inhibitory cortico-geniculate interaction was demonstrated with cross-correlation analysis in 8 pairs of which 4 had RFCs separated by more than 1.7 °. The onset latency of the inhibition was 2–7 msec except for 2 pairs with about 20 msec latency.

  4. 4.

    Most of the LGN neurons which were affected by cortical glutamate application or which showed an excitatory or inhibitory connection with a VC neuron were sustained cells, while the majority of VC neurons which were recorded in the effective glutamate application sites or which showed a significant interaction with LGN neurons in the cross-correlogram were binocularly driven and complex, with mostly large RFCs (mean diameter 3.5 °). They responded briskly to moving small spots as well as to moving slits.

  5. 5.

    It is concluded that the corticofugal excitatory effect is transmitted through monosynaptic links from VC neurons located in layer VI (complex cell) to LGN relay neurons (mostly sustained-cell) and this system is organized in a precise topographical manner.

  6. 6.

    In an Appendix neuron pairs which showed a positive correlation in the geniculo-cortical direction were described. The findings may support the view that complex as well as simple cells are driven monosynaptically from geniculo-cortical afferents of the sustained or transient type.

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Present address: Dept. of Physiology, Kanazawa University Medical School, Kanazawa, 920 Japan

Present address: Albert Einstein College, Kennedy Center, Room 322, 1410 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx, N.Y. 10461, USA

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Tsumoto, T., Creutzfeldt, O.D. & Legéndy, C.R. Functional organization of the corticofugal system from visual cortex to lateral geniculate nucleus in the cat. Exp Brain Res 32, 345–364 (1978).

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Key words

  • Visual system
  • Cortico-thalamic connections
  • Thalamocortical input
  • Functional organization
  • Cat