The ubiquity of cortico-cortical feedback connections argues strongly for their importance, and theoreticians routinely make use of them in models of cortical function. Despite this, next to nothing is known about their function. The existing studies in which feedback has been manipulated have been performed in anesthetized animals, and our preliminary studies in alert animals reveal fundamentally different results. We thus propose to embark on a new exploration of the function of cortico-cortical feedback in alert animals, making use of chronically implanted cryoloops and multi-electrode arrays. We will use these devices to reversibly inactivate a portion of the 2nd and 3rd visual areas (V2/V3) within the lunate sulcus-corresponding to the inferior, contralateral quadrant of visual space within approximately 15 degrees of the fovea-while recording the visually evoked responses of neurons in striate cortex (V1). We will systematically explore the extent to which feedback exerts specific influences, such as those in theoretical proposals for "predictive encoding," as opposed to a more generic form of gain control. In addition to testing the specificity of cortico-cortical feedback, we will use our manipulations to probe the mechanisms of center-surround opponency and to determine to what extent local, intrinsic connections can subserve various receptive field properties. Our studies will shed light on the basic mechanisms of cortical function.

Public Health Relevance

A number of human mental diseases are believed to be, fundamentally, developmental disorders that result in abnormal cortical connectivity. The autism spectrum disorders are but one important example (Minshew &Williams 2007) where the principle functional deficits appear to concern integration of information and these have been linked to abnormalities in corticocortical connectivity as assessed by both functional and anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (Just et al. 2007, Herbert et al. 2004). Schizophrenia is another neurodevelopmental disorder in which an impairment of feedback processing has been specifically implicated (Dima et al. 2010, Kemner et al. 2009, Williams et al. 2009), and, given that we know very little about the various roles played by feedback connections, the insights gained from the proposed studies will aid efforts to piece together the pathophysiology of cortical mis-wiring syndromes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Araj, Houmam H
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Harvard Medical School
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Born, Richard T; Trott, Alexander R; Hartmann, Till S (2015) Cortical magnification plus cortical plasticity equals vision? Vision Res 111:161-9
Nassi, Jonathan J; Lomber, Stephen G; Born, Richard T (2013) Corticocortical feedback contributes to surround suppression in V1 of the alert primate. J Neurosci 33:8504-17
Price, Nicholas S C; Born, Richard T (2013) Adaptation to speed in macaque middle temporal and medial superior temporal areas. J Neurosci 33:4359-68
Hunter, J Nicholas; Born, Richard T (2011) Stimulus-dependent modulation of suppressive influences in MT. J Neurosci 31:678-86
Ponce, Carlos R; Hunter, J Nicholas; Pack, Christopher C et al. (2011) Contributions of indirect pathways to visual response properties in macaque middle temporal area MT. J Neurosci 31:3894-903
Tsui, James M G; Hunter, J Nicholas; Born, Richard T et al. (2010) The role of V1 surround suppression in MT motion integration. J Neurophysiol 103:3123-38
Price, Nicholas S C; Born, Richard T (2010) Timescales of sensory- and decision-related activity in the middle temporal and medial superior temporal areas. J Neurosci 30:14036-45
Ponce, Carlos R; Lomber, Stephen G; Born, Richard T (2008) Integrating motion and depth via parallel pathways. Nat Neurosci 11:216-23
Roe, Anna W; Parker, Andrew J; Born, Richard T et al. (2007) Disparity channels in early vision. J Neurosci 27:11820-31
Pack, Christopher C; Conway, Bevil R; Born, Richard T et al. (2006) Spatiotemporal structure of nonlinear subunits in macaque visual cortex. J Neurosci 26:893-907

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