Effect of stimulus contrast and size on NMDA receptor activity in cat lateral geniculate nucleus

Y. H. Kwon, S. B. Nelson, L. J. Toth, M. Sur
1992 Journal of Neurophysiology  
AND CONCLUSIONS I. We studied the effect of varying excitatory and inhibitory drive on the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated component of the visual responses of neurons in the cat dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) by varying the contrast and size of stimuli presented to the receptive fields of these cells. 2. Cells were classified as either on-or off-center, X or Y, and lagged or nonlagged. Stimulus contrast, and hence the amount of excitatory drive, was varied by changing
more » ... e brightness of a spot, whose size and location matched the cell's receptive field center, relative to a fixed background luminance. Responses to varying contrast were collected from each cell before, during, and after iontophoretic application of D-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid ( D-APV), a specific NMDA receptor antagonist. From each contrast-response plot, a sigmoidal curve fit yielded five parameters on which we examined the effect of D-APV: the threshold contrast, saturation contrast, contrast at half saturation ( CsO), slope (gain) at C;(), and saturation response. 3. In most cells, application of D-APV reduced both the saturation response and the gain of the contrast-response curve, but did not reduce or change significantly the threshold contrast, saturation contrast, or CsO. 4. Cells varied in their sensitivity to D-APV, but for any given cell, the D-APV-sensitive component was nearly always a linear function of the control visual response level. Thus, for a spot of optimal size, there was a constant proportion of the visual response attributable to NMDA receptors, regardless of the amplitude of the response. 5. When the effect of D-APV on the visual responses to an optimal spot at varying contrasts was compared among different classes of dLGN cells, the visual responses of lagged X cells were reduced to a greater extent than those of either nonlagged X cells or the combined population of nonlagged X and Y cells. 6. Stimulus size (spot diameter) was also varied systematically at a fixed contrast to vary the inhibitory drive to dLGN cells. As stimulus size was increased, the response first increased because of increased stimulation of the receptive field center and then decreased because of increasing amounts of surround inhibition. 7. The D-APV-sensitive component of individual cell responses was greater when the stimulus spot was less than or equal to optimal size than when the spot was larger. Thus the contribution of NMDA receptors to the visual response decreased with increasing surround inhibition. 8. These results show that the fraction of the visual response of a dLGN cell mediated by NMDA receptors is not modulated by the amount of retinal excitatory drive. Rather, the proportional contribution of NMDA receptors to the visual response remains constant over the entire range of stimulus contrasts used. The results also suggest that the relative contribution of NMDA recep-ject to the specific spatial distribution of excitation and inhibition on dLGN cells.
doi:10.1152/jn.1992.68.1.182 pmid:1355526 fatcat:pjqlkukr3fhtvh3mhuhn2tod2q