Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 451–465 | Cite as

Non-dominant suppression in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat: laminar differences and class specificity

  • Chun Wang
  • B. Dreher
  • W. Burke


Binocular non-dominant suppression (NDS) in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGNd) of the cat was studied by recording from single neurons in the LGNd of anaesthetized, paralysed cats while stimulating the non-dominant eye with a moving light bar. The maintained discharge rate of LGNd neurons was varied by stimulating the dominant eye in various ways: by varying the size or contrast of a flashed spot, by varying the inner diameter of a flashed annulus of large outer diameter, by varying the velocity of a moving light bar, and by covering the eye. Non-dominant suppression was quantified either as the decrease in the maintained discharge rate (the “dip”), expressed as spikes per second, or as the ratio of the dip to the maintained discharge rate (the “dip ratio”). At low maintained discharge rates the dip, although low in value, frequently approached the maintained rate, i.e. the dip ratio approached unity. As the maintained discharge rate increased the dip value also increased, but more slowly than the maintained discharge rate, i.e. the dip ratio decreased. At maintained discharge rates above about 30 spikes/s, in many neurons the dip appeared to be approaching a constant value. This strong dependence of NDS on the maintained discharge rate of the LGNd neuron suggests that the inhibitory input to the cell arises from a region of the brain that receives an input both from the non-dominant eye and from the LGNd cell. Reasons are given for thinking that this region is the perigeniculate nucleus. Because of the strong dependence of dip and dip ratio on the maintained discharge rate, it was necessary to adopt stringent criteria when comparing NDS in two different sets of neurons or of the same set of neurons in different conditions. We recognized a significant difference in NDS between two classes of neurons or between two states only if: (1) there was no significant difference between the maintained discharge rates, and (2) there was a significant difference for both dip and dip ratio between the two classes or states. Using these criteria we found: (1) no difference between non-lagged X (XNL) and non-lagged Y (YNL) cells, (2) no difference between on-centre and off-centre cells for either XNL or YNL cells, (3) no difference between XNL cells and lagged X (XL) cells. However, there was a significant difference between cells in lamina A and those in lamina A1 for both XNL and YNL cells, dip and dip ratio values being about twice as great in lamina A. In cats in which one optic nerve had been pressure-blocked so as to prevent conduction in the largest axons (Y fibres), loss of conduction in Y fibres crossing the chiasm and projecting to the contralateral LGNd did not affect NDS. Loss of conduction in Y fibres projecting to the ipsilateral LGNd caused a complete loss of NDS in the non-lagged Y cells of lamina A and a substantial decrease in the NDS of the nonlagged X cells of lamina A. The latter cells must, therefore, be partly suppressed by non-Y fibres, presumably X fibres. It also follows that all the NDS of cells in lamina A1 is mediated by non-Y fibres, probably X fibres. Thus, NDS in the cat is partly class-specific and partly not. The discharge of retinal ganglion cells also protects the LGNd cells against NDS. The contribution of Y fibres to this anti-suppressive action was also examined. Contralaterally projecting Y fibres make no contribution. Ipsilaterally projecting Y fibres exert an anti-suppressive action on non-lagged X cells in lamina A1. It follows also that the anti-suppressive action on cells in lamina A mediated by contralaterally projecting fibres is due to non-Y fibres, presumably X fibres. Thus, both the suppressive and the anti-suppressive actions of Y fibres are mediated only by the uncrossed pathway.

Key words

Binocular LGNd X and Y cells Y-block Pressure block Cat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chun Wang
    • 1
  • B. Dreher
    • 2
  • W. Burke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology (F13)University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and HistologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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