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BMC Neuroscience

, 9:60

First Online: 03 July 2008Received: 01 February 2008Accepted: 03 July 2008


BackgroundVisual neurons respond essentially to luminance variations occurring within their receptive fields. In primary visual cortex, each neuron is a filter for stimulus features such as orientation, motion direction and velocity, with the appropriate combination of features eliciting maximal firing rate. Temporal correlation of spike trains was proposed as a potential code for linking the neuronal responses evoked by various features of a same object. In the present study, synchrony strength was measured between cells following an adaptation protocol prolonged exposure to a non-preferred stimulus which induce plasticity of neurons- orientation preference.

ResultsMulti-unit activity from area 17 of anesthetized adult cats was recorded. Single cells were sorted out and 1 orientation tuning curves were measured before and following 12 min adaptation and 60 min after adaptation 2 pairwise synchrony was measured by an index that was normalized in relation to the cells- firing rate. We first observed that the prolonged presentation of a non-preferred stimulus produces attractive 58% and repulsive 42% shifts of cell-s tuning curves. It follows that the adaptation-induced plasticity leads to changes in preferred orientation difference, i.e. increase or decrease in tuning properties between neurons. We report here that, after adaptation, the neuron pairs that shared closer tuning properties display a significant increase of synchronization. Recovery from adaptation was accompanied by a return to the initial synchrony level.

ConclusionWe conclude that synchrony reflects the similarity in neurons- response properties, and varies accordingly when these properties change.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2202-9-60 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Narcis Ghisovan, Abdellatif Nemri contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Narcis Ghisovan - Abdellatif Nemri - Svetlana Shumikhina - Stephane Molotchnikoff


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