Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 324–352

Functional synaptic organization of primary visual cortex neurones in the cat

  • O. Creutzfeldt
  • M. Ito

DOI: 10.1007/BF00233183

Cite this article as:
Creutzfeldt, O. & Ito, M. Exp Brain Res (1968) 6: 324. doi:10.1007/BF00233183


The spontaneous and light evoked post-synaptic activity of cells of the primary visual cortex was investigated with intracellular and quasi-intracellular records. The resting membrane potential fluctuated mostly between 3–10 mV below the firing threshold owing to spontaneous EPSP- and IPSP-activity. Discharge activity was therefore low. Forms and amplitudes of the visible EPSP's showed a large variability, the frequency was 150–300/sec. Discrete IPSP's were between 0.5–3 mV and were less frequent than EPSP's (about 1∶10). Their duration was only slightly longer than that of EPSP's. EPSP's and IPSP's could be elicited at on or off by appropriately positioned small light stimuli. During the initial reaction following a stimulus, single PSP's could be distinguished. Geniculate on-center- as well as off-center-afferents could lead to excitation or inhibition in different neurones. The receptive fields of cortical cells to monocular stimulation were analysed with averaged records. In each neurone 2–4 overlapping areas of on- or off-activation or -inhibition could be distinguished. Each of these activation or inhibition zones had the functional properties of a single geniculo-cortical onor off-center fibre with their receptive field centers separated by 1–3°. The variety of functional organizations of the cortical neurones to monocular stimulation was explained by variable combinations of 2–4 converging geniculate on- or off-center fibres with either excitatory or inhibitory action and variable overlap of their receptive fields. This was tested in a simple computer model. — Most neurones with pronounced reactions to movement or with direction specific movement sensitivity (about half of the neurones investigated) had an excitatory contact with an off-center fibre, which seemed to be mainly responsible for the movement reaction.- The findings suggest that from each eye less than 5 geniculo-cortical afferent converging fibres have a major effect on the activity of one cortical cell. Inhibitory afferents may be indirect and relayed through another cortical pyramidal cell.

Key Words

Visual cortexIntracellular recordingReceptive fieldsComputer simulation

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Creutzfeldt
    • 1
  • M. Ito
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für NeurophysiologieMax-Planck-Institut für PsychiatrieMünchenGermany