Recent morphological and physiological studies have suggested a strong relationship between the suprageniculate nucleus (Sg) of the posterior thalamus and the input structure of the basal ganglia, the caudate nucleus (CN) of the feline brain. Accordingly, to clarify if there is a real functional relationship between Sg and CN during visual information processing, we investigated the temporal relations of simultaneously recorded neuronal spike trains of these two structures, looking for any significant cross-correlation between the spiking of the simultaneously recorded neurons. For the purposes of statistical analysis, we used the shuffle and jittering resampling methods. Of the recorded 288 Sg-CN neuron pairs, 26 (9.2%) showed significantly correlated spontaneous activity. Nineteen pairs (6.7%) showed correlated activity during stationary visual stimulation, while 21 (7.4%) pairs during stimulus movement. There was no overlap between the neuron pairs that showed cross-correlated spontaneous activity and the pairs that synchronized their activity during visual stimulation. Thus visual stimulation seems to have been able to synchronize, and also, by other neuron pairs, desynchronize the activity of CN and Sg. In about half of the cases, the activation of Sg preceded the activation of CN by a few milliseconds, while in the other half, CN was activated earlier. Our results provide the first piece of evidence for the existence of a functional cooperation between Sg and CN. We argue that either a monosynaptic bidirectional direct connection should exist between these structures, or a common input comprising of parallel pathways synchronizing them.
- Direction of information flow
- Suprageniculate nucleus
- Visual response onset latency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology