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Binocular suppression in the macaque lateral geniculate nucleus reveals early competitive interactions between the eyes

Lookup NU author(s): Wolfgang Zinke, Professor Michael Schmid



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 Dougherty et al. The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the dorsal thalamus is the primary recipient of the two eyes’ outputs. Most LGN neurons are monocular in that they are activated by visual stimulation through only one (dominant) eye. However, there are both intrinsic connections and inputs from binocular structures to the LGN that could provide these neurons with signals originating from the other (non-dominant) eye. Indeed, previous work introducing luminance differences across the eyes or using a single-contrast stimulus showed binocular modulation for single unit activity in anesthetized macaques and multiunit activity in awake macaques. Here, we sought to determine the influence of contrast viewed by both the non-dominant and dominant eyes on LGN single-unit responses in awake macaques. To do this, we adjusted each eye’s signal strength by independently varying the contrast of stimuli presented to the two eyes. Specifically, we recorded LGN single unit spiking activity in two awake macaques while they viewed drifting gratings of varying contrast. We found that LGN neurons of all types [parvocellular (P), magno-cellular (M), and koniocellular (K)] were significantly suppressed when stimuli were presented at low contrast to the dominant eye and at high contrast to the non-dominant eye. Further, the inputs of the two eyes showed antagonistic interaction, whereby the magnitude of binocular suppression diminished with high contrast in the dominant eye, or low contrast in the non-dominant eye. These results suggest that the LGN represents a site of precortical binocular processing involved in resolving discrepant contrast differences between the eyes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dougherty K, Carlson BM, Cox MA, Westerberg JA, Zinke W, Schmid MC, Martin PR, Maier A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: eNeuro

Year: 2021

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 25/01/2021

Acceptance date: 28/11/2020

Date deposited: 22/04/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2373-2822

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience


DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0364-20.2020

PubMed id: 33495241


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