Visual receptive fields and response properties of neurons in human temporal lobe and visual pathways

Brain. 1983 Jun;106 (Pt 2):473-502. doi: 10.1093/brain/106.2.473.


Recordings were made from depth electrodes placed in medial temporal and occipital lobes for the localization of seizure foci in patients with medically intractable psychomotor epilepsy. Electrodes were located in the amygdala and at three rostrocaudal levels of the hippocampal formation including the posterior hippocampal gyrus, which lies medial to the portion of the geniculostriate pathway which passes through the temporal lobe. 1. Approximately 10 per cent of single units recorded from microelectrodes chronically implanted in medial temporal sites were visually responsive. Some of the units in the posterior hippocampal gyrus displayed receptive field characteristics similar to those reported in lower primates, including circular or linear shape, monocular or binocular response, variable (1 to 10 deg) receptive field size, retinotopic organization and sustained or transient response. 2. Visually responsive units were also recorded from lateral geniculate nucleus, pulvinar nucleus and occipital cortex, and their basic response form and latencies compared with the short latency visually responsive cells in medial temporal lobe. 3. The heterogeneity of receptive field characteristics in the medial temporal lobe is consistent with the existence of more than one visual input to this region, while their retinotopic relationship differentiates these receptive fields from those of units studied in the inferior temporal lobe of lower primates. 4. Properties of visual pathways in this region are discussed in relation to several types of temporal lobe function and to memory. Recordings from these neurons offer a rare opportunity for comparison of central visual response properties and receptive field characteristics of humans with those reported in animal studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Visual Fields*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology*