Identification of X versus Y properties for interneurons in the A-laminae of the cat's lateral geniculate nucleus

Exp Brain Res. 1988;73(2):384-92. doi: 10.1007/BF00248231.


Roughly 25% of the neurons in the A-laminae of the cat's lateral geniculate nucleus are local interneurons, while the remaining 75% are relay cells that project to the visual cortex. The interneurons form the focus of our study. The relay cells are either X or Y cells and are thereby integral links in the parallel and independent retino-geniculo-cortical X and Y pathways. Little is known about the response properties of interneurons, largely because it is difficult to identify them clearly during electrophysiological recording. However, they can be identified by morphological criteria. We thus studied their response properties by recording intracellularly from geniculate neurons to characterize them and then injecting them with horseradish peroxidase (HRP); the HRP labeling subsequently allowed us to distinguish relay cells from interneurons. In this manner, we studied 171 relay cells (83 X and 88 Y) and 15 interneurons. The response properties tested for each of the interneurons were indistinguishable from those of the relay X cells. We conclude that these interneurons are directly innervated by retinogeniculate X axons and are firmly embedded in the X pathway. We found no evidence for interneurons in the Y pathway.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Interneurons / classification
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology


  • Horseradish Peroxidase