Feedback connections act on the early part of the responses in monkey visual cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2001 Jan;85(1):134-45. doi: 10.1152/jn.2001.85.1.134.


We previously showed that feedback connections from MT play a role in figure/ground segmentation. Figure/ground coding has been described at the V1 level in the late part of the neuronal responses to visual stimuli, and it has been suggested that these late modulations depend on feedback connections. In the present work we tested whether it actually takes time for this information to be fed back to lower order areas. We analyzed the extracellular responses of 169 V1, V2, and V3 neurons that we recorded in two anesthetized macaque monkeys. MT was inactivated by cooling. We studied the time course of the responses of the neurons that were significantly affected by the inactivation of MT to see whether the effects were delayed relative to the onset of the response. We first measured the time course of the feedback influences from MT on V1, V2, and V3 neurons tested with moving stimuli. For the large majority of the 51 neurons for which the response decreased, the effect was present from the beginning of the response. In the responses averaged after normalization, the decrease of response was significant in the first 10-ms bin of response. A similar result was found for six neurons for which the response significantly increased when MT was inactivated. We then looked at the time course of the responses to flashed stimuli (95 neurons). We observed 15 significant decreases of response and 14 significant increases. In both populations, the effects were significant within the first 10 ms of response. For some neurons with increased responses we even observed a shorter latency when MT was inactivated. We measured the latency of the response to the flashed stimuli. We found that even the earliest responding neurons were affected early by the feedback from MT. This was true for the response to flashed and to moving stimuli. These results show that feedback connections are recruited very early for the treatment of visual information. It further indicates that the presence or absence of feedback effects cannot be deduced from the time course of the response modulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Hypothermia, Induced / instrumentation
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / surgery
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*