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Keywords:

  • chronaxies;
  • current thresholds;
  • electrical stimulation;
  • manual responses;
  • occipital cortex;
  • phosphenes

Abstract

Monkeys can detect electrical stimulation delivered to the striate cortex (area V1). We examined whether such stimulation is layer dependent. While remaining fixated on a spot of light, a rhesus monkey was required to detect a 100-ms train of electrical stimulation delivered to a site within area V1. A monkey signaled the delivery of stimulation by depressing a lever after which he was rewarded with a drop of apple juice. Control trials were interleaved during which time no stimulation was delivered and the monkey was rewarded for not depressing the lever. Biphasic pulses were delivered at 200 Hz, and the current was typically at or < 30 μA using 0.2-ms cathode-first biphasic pulses. For some experiments, the pulse duration was varied from 0.05 to 0.7 ms and anode-first pulses were used. The current threshold for detecting cathode-first pulses 50% of the time was the lowest (< 10 μA) when stimulation was delivered to the deepest layers of V1 (between 1.0 and 2.5 mm below the cortical surface). Also, the shortest chronaxies (< 0.2 ms) and the shortest latencies (< 200 ms) for detecting the stimulation were observed at these depths. Finally, anode-first pulses were most effective at evoking a detection response in superficial V1 and cathode-first pulses were most effective at evoking a detection response in deep V1 (> 1.75 mm below the cortical surface). Accordingly, the deepest layers of V1 are the most sensitive for the induction of a detection response to electrical stimulation in monkeys.