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Fine Structure of the Receptive Fields of Orientation-Selective Ganglion Cells in the Fish Retina

Orientation-selective ganglion cells (OS GC) were discovered in the fish retina some decades ago, though the mechanisms of orientational selectivity remain unstudied. OS GC in fish can be divided into two classes, differing in terms of presumptive orientation – close to the vertical or close to the horizontal. There are no differences in the other characteristics of these two classes. They are not selective for contrast sign, i.e., they are on-off in nature. We recorded extracellular activity from retinal tectum opticum GC axon terminals in living immobilized fish, using goldfish as the study system. Stimulus parameters and experimental series were specified using specially developed software. The experiments used a “checkerboard” method with single- and double-point stimulation. OS GC detecting horizontal and vertical edges were able to respond to single flashing points, allowing their excitatory receptive fields to be measured. Responses to this type of stimulus were markedly weaker than those to the preferred stimulus, i.e., the correspondingly oriented lines or edges. However, when stimulation was at two points simultaneously, to approximate a segment in the preferred orientation, OS GC responded with prolonged spike discharges. We also observed inhibition, when points were oriented orthogonally to the preferred orientation. Thus, pairs of points served as an adequate approximation of the preferred or orthogonal direction, allowing the local properties of the receptive fields of OS GC to be studied.

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Correspondence to A. T. Aliper.

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Translated from Sensornye Sistemy, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 19–24, January–March, 2020.

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Aliper, A.T., Damjanovic, I., Zaichikova, A.A. et al. Fine Structure of the Receptive Fields of Orientation-Selective Ganglion Cells in the Fish Retina. Neurosci Behav Physi 51, 816–819 (2021).

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  • retina
  • ganglion cells
  • receptive fields