Laminar organization of receptive field properties in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the tree shrew (Tupaiaglis belangeri)

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Jul 31;358(3):401-13. doi: 10.1002/cne.903580307.


A laminar analysis of the receptive field properties of relay cells in the binocular region of the tree shrew dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) found three main subdivisions. Lamina 1 (receiving ipsilateral eye input) and lamina 2 (contralateral) comprise a pair of layers that contain only ON-center neurons. Laminae 4 (contralateral) and 5 (ipsilateral) comprise a pair of layers with mostly OFF-center cells (86%). Laminae 3 and 6 (both contralaterally innervated) also form a distinct pair, although lamina 3 contains a mixture of cells with ON-centers (43%) or OFF-centers (57%), and lamina 6 contains mostly cells with ON-OFF centers and suppressive surrounds (81%). Cells located in the interlaminar zones resembled neurons in laminae 3 and 6. In comparison with the cells in the OFF-center laminae 4 and 5, the ON-center cells in laminae 1 and 2 had smaller, more elliptical receptive field centers with stronger responses to flashed visual stimuli. In addition, cells in the ipsilateral eye laminae 1 and 5 showed a greater change in center diameter, with eccentricity from the area centralis, than cells in the contralateral eye laminae 2 and 4. Principal components analysis using six receptive field properties (latency to optic chiasm stimulation, receptive field center diameter, maintained discharge rate, response onset latency, peak spike density, and phasic-tonic index) suggested that the cells in laminae 3 and 6 and the interlaminar zones are W-like. Principal components analysis of the same receptive field properties in laminae 1, 2, 4, and 5 did not reveal differences clearly related to X-like (parvocellular) and Y-like (magnocellular) categories. Ninety-seven percent of the cells tested for linearity of spatial summation in laminae 1, 2, 4, and 5 were linear. We conclude that the dominant organizational features of the tree shrew LGN are the ON-center, OFF-center, and W pairs of layers that project to different regions within the striate cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*