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Data from: Visual receptive field properties of neurons in the mouse lateral geniculate nucleus

Cite this dataset

Tang, Jiaying; Ardila Jimenez, Silvia C.; Chakraborty, Subhojit; Schultz, Simon R. (2016). Data from: Visual receptive field properties of neurons in the mouse lateral geniculate nucleus [Dataset]. Dryad.


The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) is increasingly regarded as a “smart-gating” operator for processing visual information. Therefore, characterizing the response properties of LGN neurons will enable us to better understand how neurons encode and transfer visual signals. Efforts have been devoted to study its anatomical and functional features, and recent advances have highlighted the existence in rodents of complex features such as direction/orientation selectivity. However, unlike well-researched higher-order mammals such as primates, the full array of response characteristics vis-à-vis its morphological features have remained relatively unexplored in the mouse LGN. To address the issue, we recorded from mouse LGN neurons using multisite-electrode-arrays (MEAs) and analysed their discharge patterns in relation to their location under a series of visual stimulation paradigms. Several response properties paralleled results from earlier studies in the field and these include centre-surround organization, size of receptive field, spontaneous firing rate and linearity of spatial summation. However, our results also revealed “high-pass” and “low-pass” features in the temporal frequency tuning of some cells, and greater average contrast gain than reported by earlier studies. In addition, a small proportion of cells had direction/orientation selectivity. Both “high-pass” and “low-pass” cells, as well as direction and orientation selective cells, were found only in small numbers, supporting the notion that these properties emerge in the cortex. ON- and OFF-cells showed distinct contrast sensitivity and temporal frequency tuning properties, suggesting parallel projections from the retina. Incorporating a novel histological technique, we created a 3-D LGN volume model explicitly capturing the morphological features of mouse LGN and localising individual cells into anterior/middle/posterior LGN. Based on this categorization, we show that the ON/OFF, DS/OS and linear response properties are not regionally restricted. Our study confirms earlier findings of spatial pattern selectivity in the LGN, and builds on it to demonstrate that relatively elaborate features are computed early in the visual pathway.

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