The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus

S. Murray Sherman

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus

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  • Development of the Nervous System


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Circuitry in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), the thalamic relay of retinal input to cortex, has been well described, mainly in the cat. Two relay cell types, X and Y, plus GABAergic interneurons constitute the cell types involved. Relay cells receive only about 5% of their synapses from retinal on proximal dendrites, but these provide a powerful drive. Other inputs, from cortex, brainstem, and interneurons are modulatory in nature able to affect retinogeniculate transmission. Retinal input to Y cells is formed simply onto dendrites, but onto X cells, it interacts with GABAergic interneuronal terminals in complex triadic arrangements: the retinal terminal contacts the X cell dendrite and interneuronal terminal, which, in turn, contacts the same X cell dendrite. Finally, both geniculocortical axons and feedback corticothalamic axons pass through the thalamic reticular nucleus, synapsing on GABAergic cells there that, in turn, contact relay cells. Speculation of how this overall circuit functions are presented.

Chapter.  4392 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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