Modeling circuit mechanisms of opposing cortical responses to visual flow perturbations

Galván Fraile, J; Scherr, F; Ramasco, J. J.; Arkhipov, A.; Maass, W; Mirasso, C. R.
Plos Computational Biology 20, e1011921 (2024)

In an ever-changing visual world, animals’ survival depends on their ability to perceive and respond to rapidly changing motion cues. The primary visual cortex (V1) is at the forefront of this sensory processing, orchestrating neural responses to perturbations in visual flow. However, the underlying neural mechanisms that lead to distinct cortical responses to such perturbations remain enigmatic. In this study, our objective was to uncover the neural dynamics that govern V1 neurons’ responses to visual flow perturbations using a biologically realistic computational model. By subjecting the model to sudden changes in visual input, we observed opposing cortical responses in excitatory layer 2/3 L2/3) neurons, namely, depolarizing and hyperpolarizing responses. We found that this segregation was primarily driven by the competition between external visual input and recurrent inhibition, particularly within L2/3 and L4. This division was not observed in excitatory L5/6 neurons, suggesting a more prominent role for inhibitory mechanisms in the visual processing of the upper cortical layers. Our findings share similarities with recent experimental studies focusing on the opposing influence of top-down and bottom-up inputs in the mouse primary visual cortex during visual flow perturbations.

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