Abstract Responses of macaque lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) cells to stimuli of different incremental intensities and wavelength compositions were studied at different levels of light adaptation from scotopic to low photopic levels. Stimuli were large in comparison with receptive-field size. Human increment thresholds were measured for comparison. The strength of responses grew in many cells from threshold up to a saturation level as a logarithmic function of incremental intensity. More complex intensity-response functions were also obtained, particularly from parvocellular layer (PCL) cells, but the shape and slope of the intensity-response function changed as a function of adaptation level only with chromatic backgrounds. As a function of adaptation level, the intensity-response functions shifted along the logarithmic abscissa but not sufficiently for a complete contrast constancy. Thus responses to any constant contrast became smaller when adaptation level decreased. The change from cone to rod responses, when possible, took place without noticeable change in shape of intensity-response functions, and much of the adaptive shift of the functions could be attributed to the change-over between rods and cones. Differences between different cells in light adaptation and dark-adapted sensitivity were large, mostly because of variation in the strength of rod input. The strongest excitatory rod inputs were found in PCL cells activated by short-wavelength light, so that the highest sensitivity at low levels of illumination occurred in blue- and blue-green-sensitive cells. The lowest increment thresholds based on cones matched the thresholds of macaque cone late receptor potentials recorded by Boynton and Whitten (3). They were also similar to human cone thresholds measured psychophysically but only for small stimulus sizes that may approximate the size of the receptive-field centers. Human sensitivity was much higher when measured with large stimulus sizes, indicating integration at post-geniculate neural levels. Light adaptation, as evaluated with respect to contrast constancy and Weber law behavior, was similarly incomplete in monkey single cells and human perception. A few cat LGN cells were studied in a control experiment; results agreed with previous findings. The light adaptation of cat cels was more complete and sensitivity higher than those observed under comparable conditions in macaque single cells and human. The maintained activity level of cells was little affected by the intensity of steady backgrounds. Thus, the steady-state hyper-polarisation of receptors was not transmitted to LGN cells. Copyright © 1983 the American Physiological Society
Journal of Neurophysiology – The American Physiological Society
Published: Oct 1, 1983
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