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Neural activity in the visual thalamus reflects perceptual suppression

Wilke, Melanie and Mueller, Kai-Markus and Leopold, David A. (2009) Neural activity in the visual thalamus reflects perceptual suppression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (23). pp. 9465-9470. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2684842.

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To examine the role of the visual thalamus in perception, we recorded neural activity in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and pulvinar of 2 macaque monkeys during a visual illusion that induced the intermittent perceptual suppression of a bright luminance patch. Neural responses were sorted on the basis of the trial-to-trial visibility of the stimulus, as reported by the animals. We found that neurons in the dorsal and ventral pulvinar, but not the LGN, showed changes in spiking rate according to stimulus visibility. Passive viewing control sessions showed such modulation to be independent of the monkeys' active report. Perceptual suppression was also accompanied by a marked drop in low-frequency power (9–30 Hz) of the local field potential (LFP) throughout the visual thalamus, but this modulation was not observed during passive viewing. Our findings demonstrate that visual responses of pulvinar neurons reflect the perceptual awareness of a stimulus, while those of LGN neurons do not.

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Additional Information:© 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option. Edited by Edward G. Jones, University of California, Davis, CA, and approved April 8, 2009 (received for review January 23, 2009). Published online before print May 20, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900714106 Author contributions: M.W. and D.A.L. designed research; M.W. and K.-M.M. performed research; M.W. analyzed data; and M.W. and D.A.L. wrote the paper. We thank K. Smith and N. Phipps for excellent technical assistance during monkey training and electrophysiological experiments. We also thank C. Zhu and Dr. F.Q. Ye for help with MRI anatomical scans and Dr. I. Kagan for help with the reconstruction of the recording sites and comments on the manuscript. We thank Dr. A. V. Maier for helpful discussions and comments on an earlier version of the paper. This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Intramural Research Programs at the National Institutes of Health. Intramural Research Programs of the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, and Stroke, and the National Eye Institute. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)UNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)UNSPECIFIED
National Eye InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:vision; LGN; awareness; pulvinar; attention
Issue or Number:23
PubMed Central ID:PMC2684842
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090817-150949801
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15143
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Aug 2009 16:17
Last Modified:03 Jun 2020 17:51

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