Acoustic input to single neurons in pulvinar-posterior complex of cat thalamus

D. P. Phillips, D. R.F. Irvine

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Extracellular microelectrode recordings have been made of 429 single neurons in the pulvinar-posterior (Pul-PO) complex and adjacent regions of the thalamus of cats anesthetized with either sodium pentobarbital or α-chloralose. Controlled acoustic stimuli were presented by sealed systems incorporating probe microphone assemblies. Neurons in pulvinar, lateralis posterior, and nucleus posterior were unresponsive to acoustic stimulation. Few cells in medial PO were observed to receive acoustic input, while sensitivity to tonal stimuli was a general feature of driven cells in other PO divisions. Cells in lateral PO were generally sharply tuned to stimulus frequency, while the majority of cells in magnocellular medial geniculate and intermediate division of PO were broadly tuned. Neurons in lateral PO and magnocellular medial geniculate had short response latencies to acoustic stimulation. Cells in intermediate division of PO were more often long latency. Divisions of PO could not be differentiated on the basis of their binaural properties. Cells receiving excitatory input from solely the contralateral ear (E/O) or from both ears (E/E) predominated in all divisions. The majority of E/E cells with onset discharge patterns showed occlusive binaural interaction properties. For cells with multiple-component discharge patterns, individual response components frequently had different patterns of binaural input and/or interaction. On the basis of their discharge patterns, short latency, and frequency-tuning properties, it is suggested that lateral PO and magnocellular medical geniculate might derive their acoustic input from different divisions of the inferior colliculus. In contrast, the long latencies of units in PO intermediate division suggest a corticofugal input. These data support anatomical parcellations of the Pul-PO complex, and the suggestion that this complex might provide acoustic input to the association cortices is evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1979

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