Regulation of spatial selectivity by crossover inhibition

J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 10;33(15):6310-20. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4964-12.2013.


Signals throughout the nervous system diverge into parallel excitatory and inhibitory pathways that later converge on downstream neurons to control their spike output. Converging excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs can exhibit a variety of temporal relationships. A common motif is feedforward inhibition, in which an increase (decrease) in excitatory input precedes a corresponding increase (decrease) in inhibitory input. The delay of inhibitory input relative to excitatory input originates from an extra synapse in the circuit shaping inhibitory input. Another common motif is push-pull or "crossover" inhibition, in which increases (decreases) in excitatory input occur together with decreases (increases) in inhibitory input. Primate On midget ganglion cells receive primarily feedforward inhibition and On parasol cells receive primarily crossover inhibition; this difference provides an opportunity to study how each motif shapes the light responses of cell types that play a key role in visual perception. For full-field stimuli, feedforward inhibition abbreviated and attenuated responses of On midget cells, while crossover inhibition, though plentiful, had surprisingly little impact on the responses of On parasol cells. Spatially structured stimuli, however, could cause excitatory and inhibitory inputs to On parasol cells to increase together, adopting a temporal relation very much like that for feedforward inhibition. In this case, inhibitory inputs substantially abbreviated a cell's spike output. Thus inhibitory input shapes the temporal stimulus selectivity of both midget and parasol ganglion cells, but its impact on responses of parasol cells depends strongly on the spatial structure of the light inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology