Thursday, July 24, 2008

Highly Selective Receptive Fields in Mouse Visual Cortex

Cristopher M. Niell and Michael P. Stryker
The Journal of Neuroscience, July 23, 2008 • 28(30):7520 –7536

Genetic methods available in mice are likely to be powerful tools in dissecting cortical circuits. However, the visual cortex, in which
sensory coding has been most thoroughly studied in other species, has essentially been neglected in mice perhaps because of their poor
spatial acuity and the lack of columnar organization such as orientation maps.Wehave now applied quantitative methods to characterize
visual receptive fields in mouse primary visual cortex V1 by making extracellular recordings with silicon electrode arrays in anesthetized
mice.Weused current source density analysis to determine laminar location and spike waveforms to discriminate putative excitatory and
inhibitory units.Wefind that, although the spatial scale of mouse receptive fields is up to one or two orders of magnitude larger, neurons
show selectivity for stimulus parameters such as orientation and spatial frequency that is near to that found in other species. Furthermore,
typical response properties such as linear versus nonlinear spatial summation (i.e., simple and complex cells) and contrastinvariant
tuning are also present in mouse V1 and correlate with laminar position and cell type. Interestingly, we find that putative
inhibitory neurons generally have less selective, and nonlinear, responses. This quantitative description of receptive field properties
should facilitate the use of mouse visual cortex as a system to address longstanding questions of visual neuroscience and cortical

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