Synaptic interactions between thalamic inputs to simple cells in cat visual cortex

William Martin Usrey, Jose Manuel Alonso, R. Clay Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


We performed experiments in the cat geniculocortical pathway, in vivo, to examine how presynaptic spikes interact to influence the firing of postsynaptic targets. In particular, we asked (1) how do multiple spikes from a single presynaptic neuron interact to influence the firing of a postsynaptic target (homosynaptic interactions), (2) how do spikes from two different presynaptic neurons interact (heterosynaptic interactions), and (3) what is the time course of homosynaptic and heterosynaptic interactions? We found that both homosynaptic and heterosynaptic interactions increase the likelihood of driving a postsynaptic spike, although with different time courses. For two spikes traveling down a single geniculate axon, the second spike is more effective than the first for ~15 msec. For two spikes on separate axons, the interaction is faster (~7 msec duration, ~2.5 msec time constant). Thus changes in firing rate are perhaps best relayed by homosynaptic interactions, whereas heterosynaptic interactions may help detect coincident spikes from different thalamic inputs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5461-5467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2000


  • Area 17
  • Coincidence detection
  • Geniculocortical
  • Lateral geniculate nucleus
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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