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lateral geniculate nucleus [keywords]
- Attention modulates neuronal correlates of interhemispheric integration and global motion perception. [Journal Article]
- J Vis 2014; 14(12)
In early retinotopic areas of the human visual system, information from the left and right visual hemifields (VHFs) is processed contralaterally in two hemispheres. Despite this segregation, we have the perceptual experience of a unified, coherent, and uninterrupted single visual field. How exactly the visual system integrates information from the two VHFs and achieves this perceptual experience still remains largely unknown. In this study using fMRI, we explored candidate areas that are involved in interhemispheric integration and the perceptual experience of a unified, global motion across VHFs. Stimuli were two-dimensional, computer-generated objects with parts in both VHFs. The retinal image in the left VHF always remained stationary, but in the experimental condition, it appeared to have local motion because of the perceived global motion of the object. This perceptual effect could be weakened by directing the attention away from the global motion through a demanding fixation task. Results show that lateral occipital areas, including the medial temporal complex, play an important role in the process of perceptual experience of a unified global motion across VHFs. In early areas, including the lateral geniculate nucleus and V1, we observed correlates of this perceptual experience only when attention is not directed away from the object. These findings reveal effects of attention on interhemispheric integration in motion perception and imply that both the bilateral activity of higher-tier visual areas and feedback mechanisms leading to bilateral activity of early areas play roles in the perceptual experience of a unified visual field.
- Dyslexia: the Role of Vision and Visual Attention. [REVIEW]
- Curr Dev Disord Rep 2014; 1(4):267-280.
Dyslexia is more than just difficulty with translating letters into sounds. Many dyslexics have problems with clearly seeing letters and their order. These difficulties may be caused by abnormal development of their visual "magnocellular" (M) nerve cells; these mediate the ability to rapidly identify letters and their order because they control visual guidance of attention and of eye fixations. Evidence for M cell impairment has been demonstrated at all levels of the visual system: in the retina, in the lateral geniculate nucleus, in the primary visual cortex and throughout the dorsal visuomotor "where" pathway forward from the visual cortex to the posterior parietal and prefrontal cortices. This abnormality destabilises visual perception; hence, its severity in individuals correlates with their reading deficit. Treatments that facilitate M function, such as viewing text through yellow or blue filters, can greatly increase reading progress in children with visual reading problems. M weakness may be caused by genetic vulnerability, which can disturb orderly migration of cortical neurones during development or possibly reduce uptake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are usually obtained from fish oils in the diet. For example, M cell membranes require replenishment of the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid to maintain their rapid responses. Hence, supplementing some dyslexics' diets with DHA can greatly improve their M function and their reading.
- Immunohistochemical mapping of neuropeptide Y in the tree shrew brain. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Comp Neurol 2014 Oct 17.
Day-active tree shrews are promising animals as research models for a variety of human disorders. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) modulates many behaviors in vertebrates. Here, we examined the distribution of NPY in the brain of tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) using immunohistochemical techniques. The differential distribution of NPY-immunoreactive (-ir) cells and fibers were observed in the rhinencephalon, telencephalon, diencephalon, mesencephalon, metencephalon and myelencephalon of tree shrews. Most NPY-ir cells were multipolar or bipolar in shape with triangular, fusiform and/or globular perikarya. The densest cluster of NPY-ir cells were found in the mitral cell layer of the main olfactory bulb (MOB), arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus and pretectal nucleus of the thalamus. The MOB presented a unique pattern of NPY immunoreactivity. Laminar distribution of NPY-ir cells was observed in the MOB, neocortex and hippocampus. Compared to rats, the tree shrews exhibited a particularly robust and widespread distribution of NPY-ir cells in the MOB, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and amygdala as well as the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus and pretectal nucleus of the thalamus. By contrast, a low density of neurons were scattered in the striatum, neocortex, polymorph cell layer of the dentate gyrus, superior colliculus, inferior colliculus and dorsal tegmental nucleus. These findings provide the first detailed mapping of NPY immunoreactivity in the tree shrew brain and demonstrate species differences in the distribution of this neuropeptide, providing an anatomical basis for the participation of the NPY system in the regulation of numerous physiological and behavioral processes. J. Comp. Neurol., 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Optogenetic activation of presynaptic inputs in lateral amygdala forms associative fear memory. [Journal Article]
- Learn Mem 2014 Nov; 21(11):627-33.
In Pavlovian fear conditioning, the lateral amygdala (LA) has been highlighted as a key brain site for association between sensory cues and aversive stimuli. However, learning-related changes are also found in upstream sensory regions such as thalamus and cortex. To isolate the essential neural circuit components for fear memory association, we tested whether direct activation of presynaptic sensory inputs in LA, without the participation of upstream activity, is sufficient to form fear memory in mice. Photostimulation of axonal projections from the two main auditory brain regions, the medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus and the secondary auditory cortex, was paired with aversive footshock. Twenty-four hours later the same photostimulation induced robust conditioned freezing and this fear memory formation was disrupted when glutamatergic synaptic transmission was locally blocked in the LA. Therefore, our results prove for the first time that synapses between sensory input areas and the LA, previously implicated as a crucial brain site for fear memory formation, actually are sufficient to serve as a conditioned stimulus. Our results strongly support the idea that the LA may be sufficient to encode and store associations between neutral cue and aversive stimuli during natural fear conditioning as a critical part of a broad fear memory engram.
- How the venetian blind percept emerges from the laminar cortical dynamics of 3D vision. [Journal Article]
- Front Psychol 2014.:694.
The 3D LAMINART model of 3D vision and figure-ground perception is used to explain and simulate a key example of the Venetian blind effect and to show how it is related to other well-known perceptual phenomena such as Panum's limiting case. The model proposes how lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and hierarchically organized laminar circuits in cortical areas V1, V2, and V4 interact to control processes of 3D boundary formation and surface filling-in that simulate many properties of 3D vision percepts, notably consciously seen surface percepts, which are predicted to arise when filled-in surface representations are integrated into surface-shroud resonances between visual and parietal cortex. Interactions between layers 4, 3B, and 2/3 in V1 and V2 carry out stereopsis and 3D boundary formation. Both binocular and monocular information combine to form 3D boundary and surface representations. Surface contour surface-to-boundary feedback from V2 thin stripes to V2 pale stripes combines computationally complementary boundary and surface formation properties, leading to a single consistent percept, while also eliminating redundant 3D boundaries, and triggering figure-ground perception. False binocular boundary matches are eliminated by Gestalt grouping properties during boundary formation. In particular, a disparity filter, which helps to solve the Correspondence Problem by eliminating false matches, is predicted to be realized as part of the boundary grouping process in layer 2/3 of cortical area V2. The model has been used to simulate the consciously seen 3D surface percepts in 18 psychophysical experiments. These percepts include the Venetian blind effect, Panum's limiting case, contrast variations of dichoptic masking and the correspondence problem, the effect of interocular contrast differences on stereoacuity, stereopsis with polarity-reversed stereograms, da Vinci stereopsis, and perceptual closure. These model mechanisms have also simulated properties of 3D neon color spreading, binocular rivalry, 3D Necker cube, and many examples of 3D figure-ground separation.
- Establishment of an experimental ferret ocular hypertension model for the analysis of central visual pathway damage. [Journal Article]
- Sci Rep 2014.:6501.
Glaucoma optic neuropathy (GON) is a condition where pathogenic intraocular pressure (IOP) results in axonal damage following retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death, and further results in secondary damage of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). Therapeutic targets for glaucoma thus focus on both the LGN and RGC. However, the temporal and spatial patterns of degeneration and the mechanism of LGN damage have not been fully elucidated. Suitable and convenient ocular hypertension (OH) animal models with binocular vision comparable to that of monkeys are strongly needed. The ferret is relatively small mammal with binocular vision like humans - here we report on its suitability for investigating LGN. We developed a new method to elevate IOP by injection of cultured conjunctival cells into the anterior chamber to obstruct aqueous outflow. Histologically, cultured conjunctival cells successfully proliferated to occlude the angle, and IOP was elevated for 13 weeks after injection. Macroscopically, the size of the eye gradually expanded. Subsequent enlargement of optic nerve head cupping and atrophic damage of LGN projected from the OH eye were clearly observed by anterograde staining with cholera toxin B. We believe the ferret may be a promising OH model to investigate secondary degeneration of central nervous system including LGN.
- Melanopsin-Driven Light Adaptation in Mouse Vision. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Curr Biol 2014 Oct 7.
In bright light, mammals use a distinct photopigment (melanopsin) to measure irradiance for centrally mediated responses such as circadian entrainment. We aimed to determine whether the information generated by melanopsin is also used by the visual system as a signal for light adaptation. To this end, we compared retinal and thalamic responses to a range of artificial and natural visual stimuli presented using spectral compositions that either approximate the mouse's experience of natural daylight ("daylight") or are selectively depleted of wavelengths to which melanopsin is most sensitive ("mel-low").We found reproducible and reversible changes in the flash electroretinogram between daylight and mel-low. Simultaneous recording in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) revealed that these reflect changes in feature selectivity of visual circuits in both temporal and spatial dimensions. A substantial fraction of units preferred finer spatial patterns in the daylight condition, while the population of direction-sensitive units became tuned to faster motion. The dLGN contained a richer, more reliable encoding of natural scenes in the daylight condition. These effects were absent in mice lacking melanopsin.The feature selectivity of many neurons in the mouse dLGN is adjusted according to a melanopsin-dependent measure of environmental brightness. These changes originate, at least in part, within the retina. Melanopsin performs a role analogous to a photographer's light meter, providing an independent measure of irradiance that determines optimal setting for visual circuits.
- Nogo-A deletion increases the plasticity of the optokinetic response and changes retinal projection organization in the adult mouse visual system. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Brain Struct Funct 2014 Oct 5.
The inhibitory action of Nogo-A on axonal growth has been well described. However, much less is known about the effects that Nogo-A could exert on the plasticity of neuronal circuits under physiological conditions. We investigated the effects of Nogo-A knock-out (KO) on visual function of adult mice using the optokinetic response (OKR) and the monocular deprivation (MD)-induced OKR plasticity and analyzed the anatomical organization of the eye-specific retinal projections. The spatial frequency sensitivity was higher in intact Nogo-A KO than in wild-type (WT) mice. After MD, Nogo-A KO mice reached a significantly higher spatial frequency and contrast sensitivity. Bilateral ablation of the visual cortex did not affect the OKR sensitivity before MD but reduced the MD-induced enhancement of OKR by approximately 50 % in Nogo-A KO and WT mice. These results suggest that cortical and subcortical brain structures contribute to the OKR plasticity. The tracing of retinal projections to the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) revealed that the segregation of eye-specific terminals was decreased in the adult Nogo-A KO dLGN compared with WT mice. Strikingly, MD of the right eye led to additional desegregation of retinal projections in the left dLGN of Nogo-A KO but not in WT mice. In particular, MD promoted ectopic varicosity formation in Nogo-A KO dLGN axons. The present data show that Nogo-A restricts visual experience-driven plasticity of the OKR and plays a role in the segregation and maintenance of retinal projections to the brain.
- Complementary and dynamic type II cadherin expression associated with development of the primate visual system. [Journal Article]
- Dev Growth Differ 2014 Oct; 56(8):535-43.
The middle temporal visual area (MT, also known as V5) is a visual association area that is particularly evolved in the primate brain. The MT receives input from the primary visual area (V1), constitutes part of the dorsal visual pathway, and plays an essential role in processing motion. Connections between the MT and V1 in the primate brain are formed after birth, and are related to the maturation of visual system. However, it remains to be determined what molecular mechanisms control the formation and maturation of the visual system. Cadherins are transmembrane proteins, originally isolated as cell adhesion molecules, which have multiple roles in synapse formation and function. To investigate potential involvement of cadherins in development of the primate visual system, we examined type II cadherin expression (cadherin-6, -8, -12) in cortical and thalamic visual areas of pre- and postnatal brains of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). In the prenatal brain, cadherin-6 was dominantly expressed in the pulvino-MT pathway whereas cadherin-8 was dominant in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)-V1 pathway. During postnatal development, there was a downregulation of cadherin-6 and upregulation of cadherin-8 expression in the MT. The timing of this cadherin exchange preceded the development of V1-MT connections. Our results suggest the possibility that changes in cadherin expression are involved in the development of the primate visual system, and that a switch in cadherin expression may be a general mechanism to control neural plasticity of highly cognitive abilities.
- Distinct representation and distribution of visual information by specific cell types in mouse superficial superior colliculus. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Oct 1; 34(40):13458-71.
The superficial superior colliculus (sSC) occupies a critical node in the mammalian visual system; it is one of two major retinorecipient areas, receives visual cortical input, and innervates visual thalamocortical circuits. Nonetheless, the contribution of sSC neurons to downstream neural activity and visually guided behavior is unknown and frequently neglected. Here we identified the visual stimuli to which specific classes of sSC neurons respond, the downstream regions they target, and transgenic mice enabling class-specific manipulations. One class responds to small, slowly moving stimuli and projects exclusively to lateral posterior thalamus; another, comprising GABAergic neurons, responds to the sudden appearance or rapid movement of large stimuli and projects to multiple areas, including the lateral geniculate nucleus. A third class exhibits direction-selective responses and targets deeper SC layers. Together, our results show how specific sSC neurons represent and distribute diverse information and enable direct tests of their functional role.