Dependence of response properties on sparse connectivity in a spiking neuron model of the lateral geniculate nucleus

We present a large-scale anatomically constrained spiking neuron model of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), which operates solely with retinal input, relay cells, and interneurons. We show that interneuron inhibition and sparse connectivity between LGN cells could be key factors for explaining a number of observed classical and extraclassical response properties in LGN of monkey and cat. Among them are 1 ) weak orientation tuning, 2 ) contrast invariance of spatial frequency tuning in the absence of cortical feedback, 3 ) extraclassical surround suppression, and 4 ) orientation tuning of extraclassical surround suppression. The model also makes two surprising predictions: 1 ) a possible pinwheel-like spatial organization of orientation preference in the parvo layers of monkey LGN, much like what is seen in V1, and 2 ) a stimulus-induced trend (bias) in the orientation and phase preference of surround suppression, originating from the stimulus discontinuity between center and surround gratings rather than from specific circuitry.

Available Online
Accepted 15 September 2007
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