γ Band plays a key role in the encoding of visual features in the primary visual cortex (V1). In rodents V1 two ranges within the γ band are sensitive to contrast: a broad γ band (BB) increasing with contrast, and a narrow γ band (NB), peaking at ∼60 Hz, decreasing with contrast. The functional roles of the two bands and the neural circuits originating them are not completely clear yet. Here, we show, combining experimental and simulated data, that in mice V1 (1) BB carries information about high contrast and NB about low contrast; (2) BB modulation depends on excitatory-inhibitory interplay in the cortex, while NB modulation is because of entrainment to the thalamic drive. In awake mice presented with alternating gratings, NB power progressively decreased from low to intermediate levels of contrast where it reached a plateau. Conversely, BB power was constant across low levels of contrast, but it progressively increased from intermediate to high levels of contrast. Furthermore, BB response was stronger immediately after contrast reversal, while the opposite held for NB. These complementary modulations were reproduced by a recurrent excitatory-inhibitory leaky integrate-and-fire network provided that the thalamic inputs were composed of a sustained and a periodic component having complementary sensitivity ranges. These results show that in rodents the thalamic-driven NB plays a specific key role in encoding visual contrast. Moreover, we propose a simple and effective network model of response to visual stimuli in rodents that might help in investigating network dysfunctions of pathologic visual information processing.
Keywords: broad γ band; local field potential; narrow γ band; spiking neuronal network; visual contrast; visual cortex.
Copyright © 2021 Meneghetti et al.