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Keywords:

  • contextual influences;
  • gamma oscillations;
  • primary visual cortex

Abstract

Neurons in primary visual cortex exhibit well documented centre–surround receptive field organization, whereby the centre is dominated by excitatory influences and the surround is generally dominated by inhibitory influences. These effects have largely been established by measuring the output of neurons, i.e. their spiking activity. How excitation and inhibition are reflected in the local field potential (LFP) is little understood. As this can bear on the interpretation of human fMRI BOLD data and on our understanding of the mechanisms of local field potential oscillations, we measured spatial integration and centre–surround properties in single- and multiunit recordings of V1 in the awake fixating macaque monkey, and compared these to spectral power in different frequency bands of simultaneously recorded LFPs. We quantified centre–surround organization by determining the size of the summation and suppression area in spiking activity as well as in different frequency bands of the LFP, with the main focus on the gamma band. Gratings extending beyond the summation area usually inhibited spiking activity while the LFP gamma-band activity increased monotonically for all grating sizes. This increase was maximal for stimuli infringing upon the near classical receptive field surround, where suppression started to dominate spiking activity. Thus, suppressive influences in primary cortex can be inferred from spiking activity, but they also seem to affect specific features of gamma-band LFP activity.