Transient inhibition to light explains stronger V1 responses to dark stimuli [article]

David St-Amand, Curtis L Baker
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) receive excitation and inhibition from two different pathways processing lightness (ON) and darkness (OFF). V1 neurons overall respond more strongly to dark than light stimuli (Yeh, Xing and Shapley, 2010; Kremkow et al., 2014), consistent with a preponderance of darker regions in natural images (Ratliff et al., 2010), as well as human psychophysics (Buchner & Baumgartner, 2007). However, it has been unclear whether this "dark-dominance" is due to more
more » ... xcitation from the OFF pathway (Jin et al., 2008) or more inhibition from the ON pathway (Taylor et al., 2018). To understand the mechanisms behind dark-dominance, we record electrophysiological responses of individual simple-type V1 neurons to natural image stimuli and then train biologically inspired convolutional neural networks to predict the neuronal responses. Analyzing a sample of 74 neurons (in anesthetized, paralyzed cats) has revealed their responses to be more driven by dark than light stimuli, consistent with previous investigations (Yeh et al., 2010; Kremkow et al., 2013). We show this asymmetry to be predominantly due to slower inhibition to dark stimuli rather than by stronger excitation from the thalamocortical OFF pathway. Consistent with dark-dominant neurons having faster responses than light-dominant neurons (Komban et al., 2014), we find dark-dominance to solely occur in the early latencies of neuronal responses. Neurons that are strongly dark-dominated also tend to be less orientation selective. This novel approach gives us new insight into the dark-dominance phenomenon and provides an avenue to address new questions about excitatory and inhibitory integration in cortical neurons.
doi:10.1101/2021.11.21.469446 fatcat:qa35zn27fzhpzeh4g5nb2kr6j4