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lateral geniculate nucleus [keywords]
- Distributions of vesicular glutamate transporters 1 and 2 in the visual system of tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Comp Neurol 2014 Dec 17.
Vesicular glutamate transporter (VGLUT) proteins regulate the storage and release of glutamate from synapses of excitatory neurons. Two isoforms, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, are found in most glutamatergic projections across the mammalian visual system, and appear to differentially identify subsets of excitatory projections between visual structures. To expand current knowledge on the distribution of VGLUT isoforms in highly visual mammals, we examined the mRNA and protein expression patterns of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), superior colliculus, pulvinar complex, and primary visual cortex (V1) in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), which are closely related to primates but classified as a separate order (Scandentia). We found that VGLUT1 was distributed in intrinsic and corticothalamic connections, whereas VGLUT2 was predominantly distributed in subcortical and thalamocortical connections. VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 were coexpressed in the LGN and in the pulvinar complex, as well as in restricted layers of V1, suggesting a greater heterogeneity in the range of efferent glutamatergic projections from these structures. These findings provide further evidence that VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 identify distinct populations of excitatory neurons in visual brain structures across mammals. Observed variations in individual projections may highlight the evolution of these connections through the mammalian lineage. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- [Experimental and modeling study of orientation sensitivity of lateral geniculate nucleus neurons]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova 2013 Jul; 99(7):841-58.
It was experimentally shown that orientation selectivity is characteristic of not only cortical but also dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus neurons in cats. With the help of mathematical modeling the factors that might influence the measurements of orientation selectivity are analyzed in the present work. Model responses on two types of stimuli, bars and brightness gradients, are qualitatively consistent with experimental data. It was shown that the non-zero orientation selectivity index may be caused by either the elongation of receptive field together with nonlinear saturation effects or the shift of the receptive field center relative to the stimulus center.
- Schizophrenia and cortical blindness: protective effects and implications for language. [Journal Article]
- Front Hum Neurosci 2014.:940.
The repeatedly noted absence of case-reports of individuals with schizophrenia and congenital/early developed blindness has led several authors to argue that the latter can confer protective effects against the former. In this work, we present a number of relevant case-reports from different syndromes that show comorbidity of congenital and early blindness with schizophrenia. On the basis of these reports, we argue that a distinction between different types of blindness in terms of the origin of the visual deficit, cortical or peripheral, is crucial for understanding the observed patterns of comorbidity. We discuss the genetic underpinnings and the brain structures involved in schizophrenia and blindness, with insights from language processing, laying emphasis on the three structures that particularly stand out: the occipital cortex, the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), and the pulvinar. Last, we build on previous literature on the nature of the protective effects in order to offer novel insights into the nature of the protection mechanism from the perspective of the brain structures involved in each type of blindness.
- Retinal Projections in the Short-tailed Fruit Bat, Carollia perspicillata, as Studied Using the Axonal Transport of Cholera Toxin B Subunit: Comparison with Mouse. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Comp Neurol 2014 Dec 12.
To provide a modern description of the Chiropteran visual system, the subcortical retinal projection were studied in the short-tailed fruit bat, Carollia perspicillata, using the anterograde transport of eye-injected cholera toxin B subunit, supplemented by the silver-impregnation of anterograde degeneration following eye-removal, and compared with the retinal projections of the mouse. The retinal projections were heavily labeled by the transported toxin in both species. Almost all components of the murine retinal projection are present in Carollia in varying degrees of prominence and laterality. The projections to the superior colliculus, accessory optic nuclei, and nucleus of the optic tract are predominantly or exclusively contralateral; to the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus and posterior pretectal nucleus are predominantly contralateral; to the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus, intergeniculate leaflet, and olivary pretectal nucleus have a substantial ipsilateral component; and to the suprachiasmatic nucleus are symmetrically bilateral. The retinal projection in Carollia is surprisingly reduced at the anterior end of the dorsal lateral geniculate and superior colliculus, suggestive of a paucity of the relevant ganglion cells in the ventrotemporal retina. In the superior colliculus, in which the superficial gray layer is very thin, the projection is patchy in places where the layer is locally absent. Except for a posteriorly located lateral terminal nucleus, the other accessory optic nuclei are diminutive in Carollia, as is the nucleus of the optic tract. In both species, the cholera toxin labeled sparse groups of apparently terminating axons in numerous regions not listed above. A question of their significance is discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- Retinal output changes qualitatively with every change in ambient illuminance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Nat Neurosci 2014 Dec 8.
The collective activity pattern of retinal ganglion cells, the retinal code, underlies higher visual processing. How does the ambient illuminance of the visual scene influence this retinal output? We recorded from isolated mouse and pig retina and from mouse dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus in vivo at up to seven ambient light levels covering the scotopic to photopic regimes. Across each luminance transition, most ganglion cells exhibited qualitative response changes, whereas they maintained stable responses within each luminance. We commonly observed the appearance and disappearance of ON responses in OFF cells and vice versa. Such qualitative response changes occurred for a variety of stimuli, including full-field and localized contrast steps and naturalistic movies. Our results suggest that the retinal code is not fixed but varies with every change of ambient luminance. This finding raises questions about signal processing within the retina and has implications for visual processing in higher brain areas.
- The direct, not V1-mediated, functional influence between the thalamus and middle temporal complex in the human brain is modulated by the speed of visual motion. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neuroscience 2015 Jan 22.:833-844.
The main visual pathway that conveys motion information to the middle temporal complex (hMT+) originates from the primary visual cortex (V1), which, in turn, receives spatial and temporal features of the perceived stimuli from the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). In addition, visual motion information reaches hMT+ directly from the thalamus, bypassing the V1, through a direct pathway. We aimed at elucidating whether this direct route between LGN and hMT+ represents a 'fast lane' reserved to high-speed motion, as proposed previously, or it is merely involved in processing motion information irrespective of speeds. We evaluated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses elicited by moving visual stimuli and applied connectivity analyses to investigate the effect of motion speed on the causal influence between LGN and hMT+, independent of V1, using the Conditional Granger Causality (CGC) in the presence of slow and fast visual stimuli. Our results showed that at least part of the visual motion information from LGN reaches hMT+, bypassing V1, in response to both slow and fast motion speeds of the perceived stimuli. We also investigated whether motion speeds have different effects on the connections between LGN and functional subdivisions within hMT+: direct connections between LGN and MT-proper carry mainly slow motion information, while connections between LGN and MST carry mainly fast motion information. The existence of a parallel pathway that connects the LGN directly to hMT+ in response to both slow and fast speeds may explain why MT and MST can still respond in the presence of V1 lesions.
- Acute effects of light on the brain and behavior of diurnal Arvicanthis niloticus and nocturnal Mus musculus. [Journal Article]
- Physiol Behav 2015 Jan.:75-86.
Photic cues influence daily patterns of activity via two complementary mechanisms: (1) entraining the internal circadian clock and (2) directly increasing or decreasing activity, a phenomenon referred to as "masking". The direction of this masking response is dependent on the temporal niche an organism occupies, as nocturnal animals often decrease activity when exposed to light, while the opposite response is more likely to be seen in diurnal animals. Little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying these differences. Here, we examined the masking effects of light on behavior and the activation of several brain regions by that light, in diurnal Arvicanthis niloticus (Nile grass rats) and nocturnal Mus musculus (mice). Each species displayed the expected behavioral response to a 1h pulse of light presented 2h after lights-off, with the diurnal grass rats and nocturnal mice increasing and decreasing their activity, respectively. In grass rats light induced an increase in cFOS in all retinorecipient areas examined, which included the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the ventral subparaventricular zone (vSPZ), intergeniculate leaflet (IGL), lateral habenula (LH), olivary pretectal nucleus (OPT) and the dorsal lateral geniculate (DLG). In mice, light led to an increase in cFOS in one of these regions (SCN), no change in others (vSPZ, IGL and LH) and a decrease in two (OPT and DLG). In addition, light increased cFOS expression in three arousal-related brain regions (the lateral hypothalamus, dorsal raphe, and locus coeruleus) and in one sleep-promoting region (the ventrolateral preoptic area) in grass rats. In mice, light had no effect on cFOS in these four regions. Taken together, these results highlight several brain regions whose responses to light suggest that they may play a role in masking, and that the possibility that they contribute to species-specific patterns of behavioral responses to light should be explored in future.
- Restoration of vision in blind individuals using bionic devices: A review with a focus on cortical visual prostheses. [REVIEW]
- Brain Res 2014 Nov 15.
The field of neurobionics offers hope to patients with sensory and motor impairment. Blindness is a common cause of major sensory loss, with an estimated 39 million people worldwide suffering from total blindness in 2010. Potential treatment options include bionic devices employing electrical stimulation of the visual pathways. Retinal stimulation can restore limited visual perception to patients with retinitis pigmentosa, however loss of retinal ganglion cells precludes this approach. The optic nerve, lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex provide alternative stimulation targets, with several research groups actively pursuing a cortically-based device capable of driving several hundred stimulating electrodes. While great progress has been made since the earliest works of Brindley and Dobelle in the 1960s and 1970s, significant clinical, surgical, psychophysical, neurophysiological, and engineering challenges remain to be overcome before a commercially-available cortical implant will be realized. Selection of candidate implant recipients will require assessment of their general, psychological and mental health, and likely responses to visual cortex stimulation. Implant functionality, longevity and safety may be enhanced by careful electrode insertion, optimization of electrical stimulation parameters and modification of immune responses to minimize or prevent the host response to the implanted electrodes. Psychophysical assessment will include mapping the positions of potentially several hundred phosphenes, which may require repetition if electrode performance deteriorates over time. Therefore, techniques for rapid psychophysical assessment are required, as are methods for objectively assessing the quality of life improvements obtained from the implant. These measures must take into account individual differences in image processing, phosphene distribution and rehabilitation programs that may be required to optimize implant functionality. In this review, we detail these and other challenges facing developers of cortical visual prostheses in addition to briefly outlining the epidemiology of blindness, and the history of cortical electrical stimulation in the context of visual prosthetics.
- Excitatory and inhibitory projections in parallel pathways from the inferior colliculus to the auditory thalamus. [Journal Article]
- Front Neuroanat 2014.:124.
Individual subdivisions of the medial geniculate body (MG) receive a majority of their ascending inputs from 1 or 2 subdivisions of the inferior colliculus (IC). This establishes parallel pathways that provide a model for understanding auditory projections from the IC through the MG and on to auditory cortex. A striking discovery about the tectothalamic circuit was identification of a substantial GABAergic component. Whether GABAergic projections match the parallel pathway organization has not been examined. We asked whether the parallel pathway concept is reflected in guinea pig tectothalamic pathways and to what degree GABAergic cells contribute to each pathway. We deposited retrograde tracers into individual MG subdivisions (ventral, MGv; medial, MGm; dorsal, MGd; suprageniculate, MGsg) to label tectothalamic cells and used immunochemistry to identify GABAergic cells. The MGv receives most of its IC input (~75%) from the IC central nucleus (ICc); MGd and MGsg receive most of their input (~70%) from IC dorsal cortex (ICd); and MGm receives substantial input from both ICc (~40%) and IC lateral cortex (~40%). Each MG subdivision receives additional input (up to 32%) from non-dominant IC subdivisions, suggesting cross-talk between the pathways. The proportion of GABAergic cells in each pathway depended on the MG subdivision. GABAergic cells formed ~20% of IC inputs to MGv or MGm, ~11% of inputs to MGd, and 4% of inputs to MGsg. Thus, non-GABAergic (i.e., glutamatergic) cells are most numerous in each pathway with GABAergic cells contributing to different extents. Despite smaller numbers of GABAergic cells, their distributions across IC subdivisions mimicked the parallel pathways. Projections outside the dominant pathways suggest opportunities for excitatory and inhibitory crosstalk. The results demonstrate parallel tectothalamic pathways in guinea pigs and suggest numerous opportunities for excitatory and inhibitory interactions within and between pathways.
- Target-Specific Properties of Thalamocortical Synapses onto Layer 4 of Mouse Primary Visual Cortex. [Journal Article]
- J Neurosci 2014 Nov 12; 34(46):15455-65.
In primary sensory cortices, thalamocortical (TC) inputs can directly activate excitatory and inhibitory neurons. In vivo experiments in the main input layer (L4) of primary visual cortex (V1) have shown that excitatory and inhibitory neurons have different tuning properties. The different functional properties may arise from distinct intrinsic properties of L4 neurons, but could also depend on cell type-specific properties of the synaptic inputs from the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus (LGN) onto L4 neurons. While anatomical studies identified LGN inputs onto both excitatory and inhibitory neurons in V1, their synaptic properties have not been investigated. Here we used an optogenetic approach to selectively activate LGN terminal fields in acute coronal slices containing V1, and recorded monosynaptic currents from excitatory and inhibitory neurons in L4. LGN afferents made monosynaptic connections with pyramidal (Pyr) and fast-spiking (FS) neurons. TC EPSCs on FS neurons were larger and showed steeper short-term depression in response to repetitive stimulation than those on Pyr neurons. LGN inputs onto Pyr and FS neurons also differed in postsynaptic receptor composition and organization of presynaptic release sites. Together, our results demonstrate that LGN input onto L4 neurons in mouse V1 have target-specific presynaptic and postsynaptic properties. Distinct mechanisms of activation of feedforward excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the main input layer of V1 are likely to endow neurons with different response properties to incoming visual stimuli.