Orientation specificity of contrast adaptation in mouse primary visual cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Sep;108(5):1381-91. doi: 10.1152/jn.01148.2011. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Contrast adaptation is a commonly studied phenomenon in vision, where prolonged exposure to spatial contrast alters perceived stimulus contrast and produces characteristic shifts in the contrast response functions of primary visual cortex neurons in cats and primates. In this study we investigated contrast adaptation in mouse primary visual cortex with two goals in mind. First, we sought to establish a quantitative description of contrast adaptation in an animal model, where genetic tools are more readily applicable to this phenomenon. Second, the orientation specificity of contrast adaptation was studied to comparatively assess the possible role of local cortical networks in contrast adaptation. In cats and primates, predictable differences in visual processing across the cortical surface are thought to be caused by inhomogeneous local network membership that arises from the pinwheel organization of orientation columns. Because mice lack this pinwheel organization, we predicted that local cortical networks would have access to a broad spectrum of orientation signals, and contrast adaptation in mice would not be specific to the recorded cell's preferred orientation. We found that most mouse V1 neurons showed contrast adaptation that was robust regardless of whether the adapting stimulus matched the cell's preferred orientation or was orthogonal to it.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*