Neural Mechanisms Mediating Motion Sensitivity in Parasol Ganglion Cells of the Primate Retina

Neuron. 2018 Mar 21;97(6):1327-1340.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.02.006. Epub 2018 Mar 1.


Considerable theoretical and experimental effort has been dedicated to understanding how neural circuits detect visual motion. In primates, much is known about the cortical circuits that contribute to motion processing, but the role of the retina in this fundamental neural computation is poorly understood. Here, we used a combination of extracellular and whole-cell recording to test for motion sensitivity in the two main classes of output neurons in the primate retina-midget (parvocellular-projecting) and parasol (magnocellular-projecting) ganglion cells. We report that parasol, but not midget, ganglion cells are motion sensitive. This motion sensitivity is present in synaptic excitation and disinhibition from presynaptic bipolar cells and amacrine cells, respectively. Moreover, electrical coupling between neighboring bipolar cells and the nonlinear nature of synaptic release contribute to the observed motion sensitivity. Our findings indicate that motion computations arise far earlier in the primate visual stream than previously thought.

Keywords: crossover inhibition; disinhibition; gap junction; glutamate; magnocellular pathway; motion detection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*