A generalized linear model of the impact of extra-retinal input to the lateral geniculate nucleus

Baktash Babadi, Alex Casti, Youping Xiao, Ehud Kaplan, and Liam Paninski

In press, J. of Vision

Relay neurons in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN) receive direct visual input predominantly from a single retinal ganglion cell (RGC), in addition to indirect input from other sources including interneurons, thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) and the visual cortex. To address the extent of influence of these indirect sources on the response properties of the LGN neurons, we fit a Generalized Linear Model (GLM) to the spike responses of cat LGN neurons driven by spatially homogeneous spots that were rapidly modulated by a pseudo-random luminance sequence. Several spot sizes were used to probe the spatial extent of the indirect visual effects. Our extracellular recordings captured both the LGN spikes and the incoming RGC input (S potentials), allowing us to divide the inputs to the GLM into two categories: the direct RGC input, and the indirect input to which we have access through the luminance of the visual stimulus. For spots no larger than the receptive field center, the effect of the indirect input is negligible, while for larger spots its effect can on average account for 5% of the variance of the data, and for as much as 25% in some cells. The polarity of the indirect visual influence is opposite to that of the linear receptive field of the neurons. We conclude that the indirect source of response modulation of the LGN relay neurons arises from inhibitory sources, compatible with thalamic interneurons or TRN.
Preprint (pdf, 700K)  |  Liam Paninski's home