Lagged Y cells in the cat lateral geniculate nucleus

David N. Mastronarde, Alan B. Saul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We report on the existence of lagged Y (YL) cells in the A laminae of the cat lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and on criteria for identifying them using visual and electrical stimulation. Like the lagged X (XL) cells described previously (Mastronarde, 1987a; Humphrey & Weller, 1988a), YLcells responded to a spot stimulus with an initial dip in firing and a delayed latency to discharge after spot onset, and an anomalously prolonged firing after spot offset. However, the cells received excitatory input from retinal Y rather than X afferents, and showed nonlinear spatial summation and other Y-like receptive-field properties. Three YLcells tested for antidromic activation from visual cortex were found to be relay cells, with long conduction latencies similar to those of XLcells. Simultaneous recordings of a YLcell and its retinal Y afferents show striking parallels between lagged X and Y cells in retinogeniculate functional connectivity, and suggest that the YL-celI response profile reflects inhibitory processes occurring within the LGN. The YLcells comprised ~5% of Y cells and —1% of all cells in the A laminae. Although infrequently encountered in the LGN, they may be roughly as numerous as Y cells in the retina, and hence could fulfill an important role in vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Inhibition
  • Lagged cells
  • Nonlagged cells
  • X cells
  • Y cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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