Coordinated dynamic encoding in the retina using opposing forms of plasticity

David B Kastner, Stephen A Baccus
<span title="2011-09-11">2011</span> <i title="Springer Nature"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Nature Neuroscience</a> </i> &nbsp;
The range of natural inputs encoded by a neuron often exceeds its dynamic range. To overcome this limitation, neural populations divide their inputs among different cell classes, as with rod and cone photoreceptors, and adapt by shifting their dynamic range. We report that the dynamic behavior of retinal ganglion cells in salamanders, mice, and rabbits is divided into two opposing forms of short-term plasticity in different cell classes. One population of cells exhibited sensitization-a
more &raquo; ... nt elevated sensitivity following a strong stimulus. This novel dynamic behavior compensates for the information loss caused by the known process of adaptation occurring in a separate cell population. The two populations divide the dynamic range of inputs, with sensitizing cells encoding weak signals, and adapting cells encoding strong signals. In the two populations, the linear, threshold and adaptive properties are linked to preserve responsiveness when stimulus statistics change, with one population maintaining the ability to respond when the other fails. Adaptive systems adjust their response properties to the statistics of the recent input 1 . However, a fundamental tradeoff exists between optimizing for the current environment, and being able to respond reliably when the environment changes. Due to statistical limitations of how long it takes to estimate the recent stimulus distribution 2,3 , the timescale of adaptation greatly exceeds the integration time of the response in many sensory systems 1,4-7 . As a consequence, when stimulus statistics change suddenly, as often occurs in natural scenes 8 , sensory neurons often fall below threshold or saturate, until they successfully measure and adapt to the statistics of the new environment. In the retina, a transition from a high to a low contrast environment reveals this tradeoff, when the decreased sensitivity caused by high contrast prevents the neuron from firing for some time after the contrast decreases 7, 9, 10 . Adapting primate retinal ganglion cells are known to recover their activity after high contrast with a prolonged time constant of ~ 6 s 11 . Users may view, print, copy, download and text and data-mine the content in such documents, for the purposes of academic research, subject always to the full Conditions of use:
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1038/nn.2906</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:21909086</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC3359137</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:i5cxeztnb5ec7dly6gbk33pl2e</a> </span>
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