Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS


PVPITM Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 618661
Financé au titre de: FP7-PEOPLE
Pays: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 1 - PVPITM (Gain controls in parallel visual pathways of the mouse)

This research aim of this career reintegration grant is to gain knowledge about the mechanisms (‘gain controls’) that help regulate the sensitivity of nerve cells in the visual pathways of the brain. The research in this project involves measuring the activity of nerve cells in the brain areas that are the major targets of the eye’s output, using the mouse as an experimental model.
Work performed to date:
We have made electrode recordings to understand impact of gain controls on single nerve cells and population activity under anaesthesia. We have built and tested apparatus for recording from nerve cells in wakefulness, and are about to start these recordings. We have developed a behavioural test that may provide insight into spatial attention in mouse vision.
Main results to date:
The recordings have demonstrated that even in these very early visual processing areas, the regulatory mechanisms (‘gain controls’) that surround the receptive fields of nerve cells are often tuned for the spatial form of simple patterns. Additional gain controls within the receptive field reduce responses to repeated presentations of stimuli. These mechanisms may be important in helping the brain detect salient objects in the environment. Additional work has asked how visual stimuli elicit innate behavioural responses in mice, and finds that small moving spots cause mice to cease movement, while rapidly expanding spots lead mice to run to shelter. Expanding spots are likely to recruit more gain control than small spots do, suggesting a potential link between activity of gain controls and these innate behavioural responses.
Knowledge of the prevalence and distribution of gain controls in the early visual system will provide fundamental knowledge about this key regulator of visual sensitivity. We hope that in the longer term this knowledge may also help understanding of how to detect and treat abnormal function of the visual system. Impact of this work to date has been the synthesis of a model of gain controls in visual (and wider) sensory processing, which has been published in widely read general journals, and the development of a new test of visual behaviour in laboratory animals. It has also facilitated new methods for helping translate knowledge from animal models to humans via common methodologies (specifically, fMRI). This career reintegration grant has also helped facilitate integration of Dr Solomon’s research programme into Europe, by helping develop research networks in his host institution (UCL) as well as more broadly in the UK and Europe.

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences