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Visual response properties of neurons in the superficial layers of superior colliculus of awake mouse

De Franceschi, G; Solomon, SG; (2018) Visual response properties of neurons in the superficial layers of superior colliculus of awake mouse. Journal of Physiology , 596 (24) pp. 6307-6332. 10.1113/JP276964. Green open access

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Abstract

KEY POINTS: In rodents including mice, the superior colliculus is the major target of the retina, but its visual response is not well characterised We made extracellular recordings from single nerve cells in the superficial layers of superior colliculus in awake, head-restrained mice, and measured their responses to visual stimuli We find that these neurons show brisk, highly sensitive and short latency visual responses, a preference for black over white stimuli, and diverse responses to moving patterns At least 5 broad classes can be defined by the variation in functional properties among units We show that eye movements have measurable impact on visual responses in awake animals and show how they may be mitigated in analyses. ABSTRACT: The mouse is an increasingly important animal model of visual function in health and disease. In mice, most retinal signals are routed through the superficial layers of the midbrain superior colliculus, and it is well established that much of mouse visual behaviour relies on activity in the superior colliculus. The functional organisation of visual signals in the mouse superior colliculus is, however, not well established in awake animals. We therefore made extracellular recordings from the superficial layers of superior colliculus in awake mice, while the animals viewed visual stimuli including flashed spots and drifting gratings. We find that neurons in the superficial layers of awake mouse superior colliculus generally show short latency, brisk responses. Receptive fields are usually 'ON-OFF' with a preference for black stimuli, and are weakly non-linear in response to gratings and other forms of luminance modulation. Population responses to drifting gratings are highly contrast sensitive, with robust response to spatial frequencies above 0.3 cycles/degree and temporal frequencies above 15 Hz. The receptive fields are also often speed-tuned or direction-selective. Analysis of response across multiple stimulus dimensions reveals at least 5 functionally distinct groups of units. We also find that eye movements affect measurements of receptive field properties in awake animals, and show how these may be mitigated in analyses. Qualitatively similar responses were obtained in urethane-anaesthetised animals, but receptive fields in awake animals had higher contrast sensitivity, shorter visual latency, and stronger response to high temporal frequencies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Visual response properties of neurons in the superficial layers of superior colliculus of awake mouse
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1113/JP276964
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP276964
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Physiological Society This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058000
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