Receptive fields and response properties of neurons in layer 4 of ferret visual cortex

William Martin Usrey, Michael P. Sceniak, Barbara Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The ferret has become a model animal for studies exploring the development of the visual system. However, little is known about the receptive-field structure and response properties of neurons in the adult visual cortex of the ferret. We performed single-unit recordings from neurons in layer 4 of adult ferret primary visual cortex to determine the receptive-field structure and visual-response properties of individual neurons. In particular, we asked what is the spatiotemporal structure of receptive fields of layer 4 neurons and what is the orientation selectivity of layer 4 neurons? Receptive fields of layer 4 neurons were mapped using a white-noise stimulus; orientation selectivity was determined using drifting, sine-wave gratings. Our results show that most neurons (84%) within layer 4 are simple cells with elongated, spatially segregated, ON and OFF subregions. These neurons are also selective for stimulus orientation; peaks in orientation-tuning curves have, on average, a half-width at half-maximum response of 21.5 ± 1.2° (mean ± SD). The remaining neurons in layer 4 (16%) lack orientation selectivity and have center/surround receptive fields. Although the organization of geniculate inputs to layer 4 differs substantially between ferret and cat, our results demonstrate that, like in the cat, most neurons in ferret layer 4 are orientation-selective simple cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1015
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Receptive fields and response properties of neurons in layer 4 of ferret visual cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this