Spatio-temporal frequency domains and their relation to cytochrome oxidase staining in cat visual cortex

Nature. 1997 Feb 6;385(6616):529-33. doi: 10.1038/385529a0.


Spatial and temporal frequencies are important attributes of the visual scene. It is a long-standing question whether these attributes are represented in a spatially organized way in cat primary visual cortex. Using optical imaging of intrinsic signals, we show here that grating stimuli of different spatial frequencies drifting at various speeds produce distinct activity patterns. Rather than observing a map of continuously changing spatial frequency preference across the cortical surface, we found only two distinct sets of domains, one preferring low spatial frequency and high speed, and the other high spatial frequency and low speed. We compared the arrangement of these spatio-temporal frequency domains with the cytochrome oxidase staining pattern, which, based on work in primate striate cortex, is thought to reflect the partition of the visual cortex into different processing streams. We found that the cytochrome oxidase blobs in cat striate cortex coincide with domains engaged in the processing of low spatial and high temporal frequency contents of the visual scene. Together with other recent results, our data suggest that spatiotemporal frequency domains are a manifestation of parallel streams in cat visual cortex, with distinct patterns of thalamic inputs and extrastriate projections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / enzymology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology


  • Electron Transport Complex IV