The receptive field of the primate P retinal ganglion cell, I: Linear dynamics

Vis Neurosci. 1997 Jan-Feb;14(1):169-85. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800008853.


The ganglion cells of the primate retina include two major anatomical and functional classes: P cells which project to the four parvocellular layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), and M cells which project to the two magnocellular layers. The characteristics of the P-cell receptive field are central to understanding early form and color vision processing (Kaplan et al., 1990; Schiller & Logothetis, 1990). In this and in the following paper, P-cell dynamics are systematically analyzed in terms of linear and nonlinear response properties. Stimuli that favor either the center or the surround of the receptive field were produced on a CRT and modulated with a broadband signal composed of multiple m-sequences (Benardete et al., 1992b; Benardete & Victor, 1994). The first-order responses were calculated and analyzed in this paper (part I). The findings are: (1) The first-order responses of the center and surround depend linearly on contrast. (2) The dynamics of the center and surround are well described by a bandpass filter model. The most significant difference between center and surround dynamics is a delay of approximately 8 ms in the surround response. (3) In the LGN, these responses are attenuated and delayed by an additional 1-5 ms. (4) The spatial transfer function of the P cell in response to drifting sine gratings at three temporal frequencies was measured. This independent method confirmed the delay between the (first-order) responses of the center and surround. This delay accounts for the dependence of the spatial transfer function on the frequency of stimulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*