Stimulus contrast affects spatial integration in the lateral geniculate nucleus of macaque monkeys

Darlene R. Archer, Henry J. Alitto, W. Martin Usrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gain-control mechanisms adjust neuronal responses to accommodate the wide range of stimulus conditions in the natural environment. Contrast gain control and extraclassical surround suppression are two manifestations of gain control that govern the responses of neurons in the early visual system. Understanding how these two forms of gain control interact has important implications for the detection and discrimination of stimuli across a range of contrast conditions. Here, we report that stimulus contrast affects spatial integration in the lateral geniculate nucleus of alert macaque monkeys (male and female), whereby neurons exhibit a reduction in the strength of extraclassical surround suppression and an expansion in the preferred stimulus size with low-contrast stimuli compared with high-contrast stimuli. Effects were greater for magnocellular neurons than for parvocellular neurons, indicating stream-specific interactions between stimulus contrast and stimulus size. Within the magnocellular pathway, contrast-dependent effects were comparable for ON-center and OFF-center neurons, despite ON neurons having larger receptive fields, less pronounced surround suppression, and more pronounced contrast gain control than OFF neurons. Together, these findings suggest that the parallel streams delivering visual information from retina to primary visual cortex, serve not only to broaden the range of signals delivered to cortex, but also to provide a substrate for differential interactions between stimulus contrast and stimulus size that may serve to improve stimulus detection and stimulus discrimination under pathway-specific lower and higher contrast conditions, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6246-6256
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume41
Issue number29
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 21 2021

Keywords

  • Extraclassical
  • Gain control
  • LGN
  • Parallel pathways
  • Receptive field
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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