The interspike interval (ISI) preceding a retinal spike has a strong influence on whether retinal spikes will drive postsynaptic responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). This ISI-based filtering of retinal spikes could, in principle, be used as a mechanism for processing visual information en route from retina to cortex; however, this form of processing has not been previously explored. Using a white noise stimulus and reverse correlation analysis, we compared the receptive fields associated with retinal spikes over a range of ISIs (0-120 ms). Results showed that, although the location and sign of retinal ganglion cell receptive fields are invariant to ISI, the size and amplitude of receptive fields vary with ISI. These results support the notion that ISI-based filtering of retinal spikes can serve as a mechanism for shaping receptive fields.
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