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lateral geniculate nucleus [keywords]
- 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.
- Eye-specific retinogeniculate segregation proceeds normally following disruption of patterned spontaneous retinal activity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Neural Dev 2014 Nov 7; 9(1):25.
Spontaneous retinal activity (SRA) is important during eye-specific segregation within the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN), but the feature(s) of activity critical for retinogeniculate refinement are controversial. Pharmacologically or genetically manipulating cholinergic signaling during SRA perturbs correlated retinal ganglion cell (RGC) spiking and disrupts eye-specific retinofugal refinement in vivo, consistent with an instructive role for SRA during visual system development. Paradoxically, ablating the starburst amacrine cells (SACs) that generate cholinergic spontaneous activity disrupts correlated RGC firing without impacting retinal activity levels or eye-specific segregation in the dLGN. Such experiments suggest that patterned SRA during retinal waves is not critical for eye-specific refinement and instead, normal activity levels are permissive for retinogeniculate development. Here we revisit the effects of ablating the cholinergic network during eye-specific segregation and show that SAC ablation disrupts, but does not eliminate, retinal waves with no concomitant impact on normal eye-specific segregation in the dLGN.We induced SAC ablation in postnatal ferret pups beginning at birth by intraocular injection of a novel immunotoxin selective for the ferret vesicular acetylcholine transporter (Ferret VAChT-Sap). Through dual-patch whole-cell and multi-electrode array recording we found that SAC ablation altered SRA patterns and led to significantly smaller retinal waves compared with controls. Despite these defects, eye-specific segregation was normal. Further, interocular competition for target territory in the dLGN proceeded in cases where SAC ablation was asymmetric in the two eyes.Our data demonstrate normal eye-specific retinogeniculate development despite significant abnormalities in patterned SRA. Comparing our current results with earlier studies suggests that defects in retinal wave size, absolute levels of SRA, correlations between RGC pairs, RGC burst frequency, high frequency RGC firing during bursts, and the number of spikes per RGC burst are each uncorrelated with abnormalities in eye-specific segregation in the dLGN. An increase in the fraction of asynchronous spikes occurring outside of bursts and waves correlates with eye-specific segregation defects in studies reported to date. These findings highlight the relative importance of different features of SRA while providing additional constraints for computational models of Hebbian plasticity mechanisms in the developing visual system.
- Attention modulates neuronal correlates of interhemispheric integration and global motion perception. [Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- 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.