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Journal of neurophysiology

Spatiotemporal analysis of electrically evoked activity in the chicken optic tectum: a VSDI study.


PMID 22031774

Abstract

The midbrain is an important processing area for sensory information in vertebrates. The optic tectum and its mammalian counterpart, the superior colliculus, receive multimodal, topographic information and contain a sensory map that plays a role in spatial attention and orientation movements. Many studies have investigated the tectal circuitry by cytochemistry and by characterization of particular cell types. However, only a few studies have investigated network activation throughout the depth of the tectum. Our study provides the first data on spatiotemporal activity profiles in the depth and width of the avian optic tectum. We used an optical imaging approach with voltage-sensitive dyes to investigate population responses at a high temporal and spatial resolution. With the necessary caution due to cell extension across several layers, we can thus link our findings tentatively with the general layout of the avian optic tectum. Single electrical stimuli in the retinorecipient layers 1-4 evoked a complex optical response pattern with two components: a short, strong transient response and a weaker persistent response that lasted several hundred milliseconds. The response started in layer 5 and spread within this layer before it propagated into deeper layers. This is in line with neuroanatomical and earlier physiological data. Analysis of temporal sequence and pharmacological manipulations revealed that these responses were mainly driven by postsynaptic activation. Thus tectal network responses to patterned input can be studied by voltage-sensitive dye imaging.

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