Visual-response properties of neurons in turtle basal optic nucleus in vitro

Academic Article


  • 1. The spike responses of 105 cells to visual-stimulus movement were analyzed in the turtle's basal optic nucleus (BON) in vitro in the absence of the telencephalon. All cells were direction sensitive (DS) and were driven solely by stimulation of the contralateral eye. These cells had large receptive fields and had vigorous responses to moving, textured patterns. Small moving spots generated only weak responses from these cells, as did the onset or offset of diffuse light flashes. 2. The direction tuning of BON cells was quite broad with most back and forth responses being DS. In fact, for 86% of the cells, there were seven to nine axes (out of 9 total, in 20° increments) for which response to movement in one direction was at least twice that for the opposite direction. In instances where spontaneous activity was relatively high, a suppression of that spike firing was evident when the stimulus moved in directions opposite to preferred stimulus directions. 3. Cells preferring many different directions are found in the BON. More cells preferred inferior-temporal directed motion (49%), compared to superior-temporal (35%) and nasal stimuli (13%). 4. BON cells remained DS over 3 log units of velocity, with their strongest responses between 1 and 50°/s. Responses were often non-DS for stimuli moving slower than 0.1°/s. 5. The receptive fields of BON cells were large and occupied different parts of the retina. When different subregions of a receptive field were stimulated, the cell's directional tuning always remained the same as the full field direction tuning. 6. Thus, BON cells seem well-suited for the analysis of global, visual-field motion in any direction, performed by the accessory optic system. Other brain stem pathways necessary for optokinetic reflexes can be elucidated with the use of this whole-brain, eyes-attached in vitro preparation.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rosenberg AF; Ariel M
  • Start Page

  • 1033
  • End Page

  • 1045
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 5