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Christian Casanova, Matthieu Vanni, Reza F. Abbas, Sébastien Thomas; Is The Pulvinar Driving or Modulating Responses in the Visual Cortex?. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1371. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1371.
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Signals from lower cortical areas are not only transferred directly to higher-order cortical areas via cortico-cortical connections but also indirectly through cortico-thalamo-cortical projections. One step toward the understanding of the role of transthalamic corticocortical pathways is to determine the nature of the signals transmitted between the cortex and the thalamus. Are they strictly modulatory, i.e. are they modifying the activity in relation to the stimulus context and the analysis being done in the projecting area, or are they used to establish basic functional characteristics of cortical cells? While the presence of drivers and modulators has been clearly demonstrated along the retino-geniculo-cortical pathway, it is not known whether such distinction can be made functionally in pathways involving the pulvinar. Since drivers and modulators can exhibit a different temporal pattern of response, we measured the spatiotemporal dynamics of voltage sensitive dyes activation in the visual cortex following pulvinar electrical stimulation in cats and tree shrews. Stimulation of pulvinar induced fast and local responses in extrastriate cortex. In contrast, the propagated waves in the primary visual cortex (V1) were weak in amplitude and diffuse. Co-stimulating pulvinar and LGN produced responses in V1 that were weaker than the sum of the responses evoked by the independent stimulation of both nuclei. These findings support the presence of drivers and modulators along pulvinar pathways and suggest that the pulvinar can exert a modulatory influence in cortical processing of LGN inputs in V1 while it mainly provides driver inputs to extrastriate areas, reflecting the different connectivity patterns.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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