Correlational Structure of Spontaneous Neuronal Activity in the Developing Lateral Geniculate Nucleus in Vivo

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Science  23 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5427, pp. 599-604
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5427.599

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The properties of spontaneous activity in the developing visual pathway beyond the retina are unknown. Multielectrode recordings in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of awake behaving ferrets, before eye opening, revealed patterns of spontaneous activity that reflect a reshaping of retinal drive within higher visual stages. Significant binocular correlations were present only when cortico-thalamic feedback was intact. In the absence of retinal drive, cortico-thalamic feedback was required to sustain correlated LGN bursting. Activity originating from the contralateral eye drove thalamic activity far more strongly than that originating from the ipsilateral eye. Thus, in vivo patterns of LGN spontaneous activity emerge from interactions between retina, thalamus, and cortex.

  • * Present address: Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Meliora Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: weliky{at}

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