Receptive field structure in the visual cortex: Does selective stimulation induce plasticity?

Citation Info

Gregory C. DeAngelis, Akiyuki Anzai, Izumi Ohzawa, and Ralph D. Freeman (1995)
Receptive field structure in the visual cortex: Does selective stimulation induce plasticity?
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92: 9682-9686.
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Abstract

Sensory areas of adult cerebral cortex can reorganize in response to long-term alterations in patterns of afferent signals. This long-term plasticity is thought to play a crucial role in recovery from injury and in some forms of learning. However, the degree to which sensory representations in primary cortical areas depend on short-term (i.e., minute to minute) stimulus variations remains unclear. A traditional view is that each neuron in the mature cortex has a fixed receptive field structure. An alternative view, with fundamentally different implications for understanding cortical function, is that each cell's receptive field is highly malleable, changing according to the recent history of the sensory environment. Consistent with the latter view, it has recently been reported that selective stimulation of regions surrounding the receptive field induces a dramatic short-term increase in receptive field size for neurons in the visual cortex [Pettet, M. W. & Gilbert, C. D. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89, 8366-8370]. In contrast, we report here that there is no change in either the size or the internal structure of the receptive field following several minutes of surround stimulation. However, for some cells, overall responsiveness increases. These results suggest that dynamic alterations of receptive field structure do not underlie short-term plasticity in the mature primary visual cortex. However, some degree of short-term adaptability could be mediated by changes in responsiveness.

See Also

Barbara Chapman, and Leland S. Stone (1996)
Turning a blind eye to cortical receptive fields. Neuron 16: 9-12. (Mini Review) [Medline]
This review article evaluates conflicting results from Pettet, M. W. & Gilbert, C. D. (1992) (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89, 8366-8370) [Medline] and our PNAS paper.

Does selective stimulation of RF surround cause expansion of RF? (April 8, 1996)
Our response to: Barbara Chapman, and Leland S. Stone (1996) Turning a blind eye to cortical receptive fields. Neuron 16: 9-12. (MiniReview)