Laminar Distribution of Receptive Field Properties in the Primary Visual Cortex of the Mouse

J Comp Neurol. 1980 Sep 1;193(1):203-22. doi: 10.1002/cne.901930114.


We studied the receptive field properties of single neurons in the primary visual cortex (area 17) of the mouse and the distribution of receptive field types among the cortical laminae. Three basic receptive field types were found: 1) Cells with oriented receptive fields, many of which could be classified as simple or complex, were found in all layers of the cortex, but occurred with greater frequency in layers II and III and less commonly in Layer IV. 2) Cells with non-oriented receptive fields had ON, OFF, or ON-OFF centers; they were found in all layers but were predominant in layer IV. Two subclasses of non-oriented receptive fields were characterized based on their responses to stationary and moving stimuli. One group of cells with non-oriented receptive fields responded vigorously with sustained firing to stationary flashing stimuli, and also responded well to moving stimuli over a wide range of stimulus velocities. A second group of non-oriented cells, termed motion-selective, responded poorly or not at all to stationary stimuli and responded optimally to moving stimuli over a restricted range of velocities. 3) A distinct group of neurons, termed large field, non-oriented (LFNO) cells, were found almost exclusively in layer V. LFNO cells had receptive fields that were larger than those of the other two major classes at all visual-field locations; they also had higher rates of spontaneous activity and responded to higher stimulus velocities than the other classes. In these respects, LFNO cells resembled the layer V cells of area 17 in the cat and the layer V and VI cells of area 17 in the monkey that project to the superior colliculus. We injected horseradish peroxidase into the superior colliculus, and determined that corticotectal cells in the mouse were also located in layer V, the layer where we recorded LFNO cells. Additional evidence that some LFNO cells project to the superior colliculus was provided by preliminary experiments in which we stimulated the superior colliculus and antidromically activated cortical cells with LFNO receptive fields. Neurons with LFNO receptive fields thus constitute a class that is functionally distinct, with cell bodies that are located in a single layer (V) of area 17 in the mouse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Haplorhini
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*