Competitive mechanisms subserve attention in macaque areas V2 and V4.
It is well established that attention modulates visual processing in extrastriate cortex. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are unknown. A consistent observation is that attention has its greatest impact on neuronal responses when multiple stimuli appear together within a cell's receptive field. One way to explain this is to assume that multiple stimuli activate competing populations of neurons and that attention biases this competition in favor of the attended stimulus. In the absence of competing stimuli, there is no competition to be resolved. Accordingly, attention has a more limited effect on the neuronal response to a single stimulus. To test this interpretation, we measured the responses of neurons in macaque areas V2 and V4 using a behavioral paradigm that allowed us to isolate automatic sensory processing mechanisms from attentional effects. First, we measured each cell's response to a single stimulus presented alone inside the receptive field or paired with a second receptive field stimulus, while the monkey attended to a location outside the receptive field. Adding the second stimulus typically caused the neuron's response to move toward the response that was elicited by the second stimulus alone. Then, we directed the monkey's attention to one element of the pair. This drove the neuron's response toward the response elicited when the attended stimulus appeared alone. These findings are consistent with the idea that attention biases competitive interactions among neurons, causing them to respond primarily to the attended stimulus. A quantitative neural model of attention is proposed to account for these results. (+info)
Neural encoding in orbitofrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala during olfactory discrimination learning.
Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is part of a network of structures involved in adaptive behavior and decision making. Interconnections between OFC and basolateral amygdala (ABL) may be critical for encoding the motivational significance of stimuli used to guide behavior. Indeed, much research indicates that neurons in OFC and ABL fire selectively to cues based on their associative significance. In the current study recordings were made in each region within a behavioral paradigm that allowed comparison of the development of associative encoding over the course of learning. In each recording session, rats were presented with novel odors that were informative about the outcome of making a response and had to learn to withhold a response after sampling an odor that signaled a negative outcome. In some cases, reversal training was performed in the same session as the initial learning. Ninety-six of the 328 neurons recorded in OFC and 60 of the 229 neurons recorded in ABL exhibited selective activity during evaluation of the odor cues after learning had occurred. A substantial proportion of those neurons in ABL developed selective activity very early in training, and many reversed selectivity rapidly after reversal. In contrast, those neurons in OFC rarely exhibited selective activity during odor evaluation before the rats reached the criterion for learning, and far fewer reversed selectivity after reversal. The findings support a model in which ABL encodes the motivational significance of cues and OFC uses this information in the selection and execution of an appropriate behavioral strategy. (+info)
Physiological properties of raphe magnus neurons during sleep and waking.
Neurons in the medullary raphe magnus (RM) that are important in the descending modulation of nociceptive transmission are classified by their response to noxious tail heat as ON, OFF, or NEUTRAL cells. Experiments in anesthetized animals demonstrate that RM ON cells facilitate and OFF cells inhibit nociceptive transmission. Yet little is known of the physiology of these cells in the unanesthetized animal. The first aim of the present experiments was to determine whether cells with ON- and OFF-like responses to noxious heat exist in the unanesthetized rat. Second, to determine if RM cells have state-dependent discharge, the activity of RM neurons was recorded during waking and sleeping states. Noxious heat applied during waking and slow wave sleep excited one group of cells (ON-U) in unanesthetized rats. Other cells were inhibited by noxious heat (OFF-U) applied during waking and slow wave sleep states in unanesthetized rats. NEUTRAL-U cells did not respond to noxious thermal stimulation applied during either slow wave sleep or waking. ON-U and OFF-U cells were more likely to respond to noxious heat during slow wave sleep than during waking and were least likely to respond when the animal was eating or drinking. Although RM cells rarely respond to innocuous stimulation applied during anesthesia, ON-U and OFF-U cells were excited and inhibited, respectively, by innocuous somatosensory stimulation in the unanesthetized rat. The spontaneous activity of >90% of the RM neurons recorded in the unanesthetized rat was influenced by behavioral state. OFF-U cells discharged sporadically during waking but were continuously active during slow wave sleep. By contrast, ON-U and NEUTRAL-U cells discharged in bursts during waking and either ceased to discharge entirely or discharged at a low rate during slow wave sleep. We suggest that OFF cell discharge functions to suppress pain-evoked reactions during sleep, whereas ON cell discharge facilitates pain-evoked responses during waking. (+info)
MST neuronal responses to heading direction during pursuit eye movements.
As you move through the environment, you see a radial pattern of visual motion with a focus of expansion (FOE) that indicates your heading direction. When self-movement is combined with smooth pursuit eye movements, the turning of the eye distorts the retinal image of the FOE but somehow you still can perceive heading. We studied neurons in the medial superior temporal area (MST) of monkey visual cortex, recording responses to FOE stimuli presented during fixation and smooth pursuit eye movements. Almost all neurons showed significant changes in their FOE selective responses during pursuit eye movements. However, the vector average of all the neuronal responses indicated the direction of the FOE during both fixation and pursuit. Furthermore, the amplitude of the net vector increased with increasing FOE eccentricity. We conclude that neuronal population encoding in MST might contribute to pursuit-tolerant heading perception. (+info)
Visuomotor processing as reflected in the directional discharge of premotor and primary motor cortex neurons.
Premotor and primary motor cortical neuronal firing was studied in two monkeys during an instructed delay, pursuit tracking task. The task included a premovement "cue period," during which the target was presented at the periphery of the workspace and moved to the center of the workspace along one of eight directions at one of four constant speeds. The "track period" consisted of a visually guided, error-constrained arm movement during which the animal tracked the target as it moved from the central start box along a line to the opposite periphery of the workspace. Behaviorally, the animals tracked the required directions and speeds with highly constrained trajectories. The eye movements consisted of saccades to the target at the onset of the cue period, followed by smooth pursuit intermingled with saccades throughout the cue and track periods. Initially, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test for direction and period effects in the firing. Subsequently, a linear regression analysis was used to fit the average firing from the cue and track periods to a cosine model. Directional tuning as determined by a significant fit to the cosine model was a prominent feature of the discharge during both the cue and track periods. However, the directional tuning of the firing of a single cell was not always constant across the cue and track periods. Approximately one-half of the neurons had differences in their preferred directions (PDs) of >45 degrees between cue and track periods. The PD in the cue or track period was not dependent on the target speed. A second linear regression analysis based on calculation of the preferred direction in 20-ms bins (i.e., the PD trajectory) was used to examine on a finer time scale the temporal evolution of this change in directional tuning. The PD trajectories in the cue period were not straight but instead rotated over the workspace to align with the track period PD. Both clockwise and counterclockwise rotations occurred. The PD trajectories were relatively straight during most of the track period. The rotation and eventual convergence of the PD trajectories in the cue period to the preferred direction of the track period may reflect the transformation of visual information into motor commands. The widely dispersed PD trajectories in the cue period would allow targets to be detected over a wide spatial aperture. The convergence of the PD trajectories occurring at the cue-track transition may serve as a "Go" signal to move that was not explicitly supplied by the paradigm. Furthermore, the rotation and convergence of the PD trajectories may provide a mechanism for nonstandard mapping. Standard mapping refers to a sensorimotor transformation in which the stimulus is the object of the reach. Nonstandard mapping is the mapping of an arbitrary stimulus into an arbitrary movement. The shifts in the PD may allow relevant visual information from any direction to be transformed into an appropriate movement direction, providing a neural substrate for nonstandard stimulus-response mappings. (+info)
Fatal outcome arising from use of a sutureless "corkscrew" epicardial pacing electrode inserted into apex of left ventricle.
A 59-year-old man is described in whom the insertion of an epicardial sutureless "corkscrew" electrode resulted in fatal ventricular perforation. Fatal myocardial perforation can occur with this electrode and the apex of the left ventricle should never be used as the site of insertion. Necropsy also showed that the transvenous right ventricular electrode, inserted one year previously, had penetrated a tricuspid leaflet. This could have accounted for the ensuing pacing failure. (+info)
Gating of transmission in climbing fibre paths to cerebellar cortical C1 and C3 zones in the rostral paramedian lobule during locomotion in the cat.
1. Climbing fibre field potentials evoked by low intensity (non-noxious) electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral superficial radial nerve have been recorded in the rostral paramedian lobule (PML) in awake cats. Chronically implanted microwires were used to monitor the responses at eight different C1 and C3 zone sites during quiet rest and during steady walking on a moving belt. The latency and other characteristics of the responses identified them as mediated mainly via the dorsal funiculus-spino-olivocerebellar path (DF-SOCP). 2. At each site, mean size of response (measured as the area under the field, in mV ms) varied systematically during the step cycle without parallel fluctuations in size of the peripheral nerve volley. Largest responses occurred overwhelmingly during the stance phase of the step cycle in the ipsilateral forelimb while smallest responses occurred most frequently during swing. 3. Simultaneous recording from pairs of C1 zone sites located in the anterior lobe (lobule V) and C1 or C3 zone sites in rostral PML revealed markedly different patterns of step-related modulation. 4. The findings shed light on the extent to which the SOCPs projecting to different parts of a given zone can be regarded as functionally uniform and have implications as to their reliability as channels for conveying peripheral signals to the cerebellum during locomotion. (+info)
Effects of capsaicin pretreatment on expiratory laryngeal closure during pulmonary edema in lambs.
The present study, performed in nonsedated, conscious lambs, consisted of two parts. In the first part, we 1) examined for the first time whether a respiratory response to pulmonary C-fiber stimulation could be elicited in nonsedated newborns and 2) determined whether this response could be abolished by capsaicin pretreatment. Then, by using capsaicin-desensitized lambs, we studied whether pulmonary C fibers were involved in the sustained, active expiratory upper airway closure previously observed during pulmonary edema. Airflow and thyroarytenoid and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle electromyographic activities were recorded. In the first set of experiments, a 5-10 microg/kg capsaicin bolus intravenous injection in seven intact lambs consistently led to a typical pulmonary chemoreflex, showing that C fibers are functionally mature in newborn lambs. In the second series of experiments, eight lambs pretreated with 25-50 mg/kg subcutaneous capsaicin did not exhibit any respiratory response to 10-50 microg/kg intravenous capsaicin injection, implicating C fibers in the response. Finally, in the above capsaicin-desensitized lambs, we observed that halothane-induced high-permeability pulmonary edema did not cause the typical response of sustained expiratory upper airway closure seen in the intact lamb. We conclude that functionally mature C fibers are present and responsible for a pulmonary chemoreflex in response to capsaicin intravenous injection in nonsedated lambs. Capsaicin pretreatment abolishes this reflex. Furthermore, the sustained expiratory upper airway closure observed during halothane-induced pulmonary edema in intact nonsedated lambs appears to be related to a reflex involving stimulation of pulmonary C fibers. (+info)