Spatial and temporal response properties of lagged and nonlagged cells in cat lateral geniculate nucleus

J Neurophysiol. 1990 Jul;64(1):206-24. doi: 10.1152/jn.1990.64.1.206.


1. It has recently been shown that the X- and Y-cell classes in the A-layers of the cat lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) are divisible into lagged and nonlagged types. We have characterized the visual response properties of 153 cells in the A-layers to 1) reveal response features that are relevant to the X/Y and lagged/nonlagged classification schemes, and 2) provide a systematic description of the properties of lagged and nonlagged cells as a basis for understanding mechanisms that affect these two groups. Responses to flashing spots and drifting gratings were measured as the contrast and spatial and temporal modulation were varied. 2. X- and Y-cells were readily distinguished by their spatial tuning. Y-cells had much lower preferred spatial frequencies and spatial resolution than X-cells. Within each functional class (X or Y), however, lagged and nonlagged cells were similar in their spatial response properties. Thus the lagged/nonlagged distinction is not one related to the spatial domain. 3. In the temporal domain X- and Y-cells showed little difference in temporal tuning, whereas lagged and nonlagged cells showed distinctive response properties. The temporal tuning functions of lagged cells were slightly shifted toward lower frequencies with optimal temporal frequencies of lagged X-cells averaging an octave lower than those of nonlagged X-cells. Temporal resolution was much lower in lagged X- and Y-cells than in their nonlagged counterparts. 4. The most dramatic differences between lagged and nonlagged cells appeared in the timing of their responses, as measured by the phase of the response relative to the sinusoidal luminance modulation of a spot centered in the receptive field. Response phase varied approximately linearly with temporal frequency. The slope of the phase versus frequency line is a measure of total integration time, which we refer to as visual latency. Lagged cells has much longer latencies than nonlagged cells. 5. The intercept of the phase versus frequency line is a measure of when in the stimulus cycle the cell responds: we refer to this as the intrinsic or absolute phase of the cell. This measure of response timing not only distinguished lagged and nonlagged cells well but also covaried with the sustained or transient nature of cells' responses to flashed stimuli.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*