Strobe rearing prevents the convergence of inputs with different response timings onto area 17 simple cells

Allen L. Humphrey, Alan B. Saul, Jordan C. Feidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The preceding paper showed that the loss of direction selectivity in simple cells induced by strobe rearing reflects the elimination of spatially ordered response timing differences across the receptive field that underlie spatiotemporal (S-T) inseparability. Here we addressed whether these changes reflected an elimination of certain timings or an alteration in how timings were associated in single cells. Timing in receptive fields was measured using stationary bars undergoing sinusoidal luminance modulation at different temporal frequencies (0.5-6 Hz). For each bar position, response phase versus temporal frequency data were fit by a line to obtain two measures: absolute phase and latency. In normal cats, many individual simple cells display a wide range of timings; in layer 4, the mean range for absolute phase and latency was 0.21 cycles and 39 ms, respectively. Strobe rearing compressed the mean timing ranges in single cells, to 0.08 cycles and 31 ms, respectively, and this compression accounted for the loss of inseparability. A similar compression was measured in layer 6 cells. In contrast, the range of timing values across the simple-cell population was relatively normal. Single cells merely sampled narrower than normal regions of the timing space. We sought to understand these cortical changes in terms of how inputs from the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) may have been affected by strobe rearing. In normal cats, a wide range of absolute phase and latency values exists among lagged and nonlagged LGN cells, and these thalamic timings account for most of the cortical timings. Also, S-T inseparability in many simple cells can be attributed to the convergence of lagged and/or nonlagged inputs. Strobe rearing did not change the sampling of lagged and nonlagged cells, and the geniculate timings continued to account for most of the cortical timings. However, strobe rearing virtually eliminated cortical receptive fields with mixed lagged and nonlagged timing, and it compressed the timing range in cells dominated by one or the other geniculate type. Thus strobe rearing did not eliminate certain timings in LGN or cortex, but prevented the convergence of different timings on single cells. To account for these results, we propose a developmental model in which strobe stimulation alters the correlational structure of inputs based on their response timing. Only inputs with similar timing become associated on single cortical cells, and this produces S-T separable receptive fields that lack the ability to confer a preferred direction of motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3005-3020
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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