Functional topography of single cortical cells: An intracellular approach combined with optical imaging

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Pyramidal cells mediating long-range corticocortical connections have been assumed to play an important role in visual perceptual mechanisms [C.D. Gilbert, Horizontal integration and cortical dynamics, Neuron 9 (1992) 1- 13]. However, no information is available as yet on the specificity of individual pyramidal cells with respect to functional maps, e.g., orientation map. Here, we show a combination of techniques with which the functional topography of single pyramidal neurons can be explored in utmost detail. To this end, we used optical imaging of intrinsic signals followed by intracellular recording and staining with biocytin in vivo. The axonal and dendritic trees of the labelled neurons were reconstructed in three dimensions and aligned with corresponding functional orientation maps. The results indicate that, contrary to the sharp orientation tuning of neurons shown by the recorded spike activity, the efferent connections (axon terminal distribution) of the same pyramidal cells were found to terminate at a much broader range of orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research Protocols
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1998


  • Intracellular recording and staining
  • Optical imaging
  • Orientation selectivity
  • Three-dimensional neuron reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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