Divergence of fMRI and neural signals in V1 during perceptual suppression in the awake monkey.
ABSTRACT: The role of primary visual cortex (V1) in determining the contents of perception is controversial. Human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of perceptual suppression have revealed a robust drop in V1 activity when a stimulus is subjectively invisible. In contrast, monkey single-unit recordings have failed to demonstrate such perception-locked changes in V1. To investigate the basis of this discrepancy, we measured both the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response and several electrophysiological signals in two behaving monkeys. We found that all signals were in good agreement during conventional stimulus presentation, showing strong visual modulation to presentation and removal of a stimulus. During perceptual suppression, however, only the BOLD response and the low-frequency local field potential (LFP) power showed decreases, whereas the spiking and high-frequency LFP power were unaffected. These results demonstrate that the coupling between the BOLD and electrophysiological signals in V1 is context dependent, with a marked dissociation occurring during perceptual suppression.
Project description:The role of primary visual cortex (area V1) in subjective perception has intrigued students of vision for decades. Specifically, the extent to which the activity of different types of cells (monocular versus binocular) and electrophysiological signals (i.e., local field potentials versus spiking activity) reflect perception is still debated. To address these questions we recorded from area V1 of the macaque using tetrodes during the paradigm of binocular flash suppression, where incongruent images presented dichoptically compete for perceptual dominance. We found that the activity of a minority (20%) of neurons reflect the perceived visual stimulus and these cells exhibited perceptual modulations substantially weaker compared with their sensory modulation induced by congruent stimuli. Importantly, perceptual modulations were found equally often for monocular and binocular cells, demonstrating that perceptual competition in V1 involves mechanisms across both types of neurons. The power of the local field potential (LFP) also showed moderate perceptual modulations with similar percentages of sites showing significant effects across frequency bands (18-22%). The possibility remains that perception may be strongly reflected in more elaborate aspects of activity in V1 circuits (e.g., specific neuronal subtypes) or perceptual states might have a modulatory role on more intricate aspects of V1 firing patterns (e.g., synchronization), not necessarily altering the firing rates of single cells or the LFP power dramatically.
Project description:Neurophysiological and functional imaging experiments remain in apparent disagreement on the role played by the earliest stages of the visual cortex in supporting a visual percept. Here, we report electrophysiological findings that shed light on this issue. We monitored neural activity in the visual cortex of monkeys as they reported their perception of a high-contrast visual stimulus that was induced to vanish completely from perception on a subset of trials. We found that the spiking of neurons in cortical areas V1 and V2 was uncorrelated with the perceptual visibility of the target, whereas that in area V4 showed significant perception-related changes. In contrast, power changes in the lower frequency bands (particularly 9-30 Hz) of the local field potential (LFP), collected on the same trials, showed consistent and sustained perceptual modulation in all three areas. In addition, for the gamma frequency range (30-50 Hz), the responses during perceptual suppression of the target were correlated significantly with the responses to its physical removal in all areas, although the modulation magnitude was considerably higher in area V4 than in V1 and V2. These results, taken together, suggest that low-frequency LFP power in early cortical processing is more closely related to the representation of stimulus visibility than is spiking or higher frequency LFP activity.
Project description:Binocular rivalry is a phenomenon in which perception spontaneously shifts between two different images that are dichoptically presented to the viewer. By elucidating the cortical networks responsible for these stochastic fluctuations in perception, we can potentially learn much about the neural correlates of visual awareness. We obtained concurrent EEG-fMRI data for a group of 20 healthy human subjects during the continuous presentation of dichoptic visual stimuli. The two eyes' images were tagged with different temporal frequencies so that eye specific steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) signals could be extracted from the EEG data for direct comparison with changes in fMRI BOLD activity associated with binocular rivalry. We additionally included a smooth replay condition that emulated the perceptual transitions experienced during binocular rivalry as a control stimulus. We evaluated a novel SSVEP-informed fMRI analysis in this study in order to delineate the temporal dynamics of rivalry-related BOLD activity from both an electrophysiological and behavioral perspective. In this manner, we assessed BOLD activity during rivalry that was directly correlated with peaks and crosses of the two rivaling, frequency-tagged SSVEP signals, for comparison with BOLD activity associated with subject reported perceptual transitions. Our findings point to a critical role of a right lateralized fronto-parietal network in the processing of bistable stimuli, given that BOLD activity in the right superior/inferior parietal lobules was significantly elevated throughout binocular rivalry and in particular during perceptual transitions, compared with the replay condition. Based on the SSVEP-informed analysis, rivalry was further associated with significantly enhanced BOLD suppression in the posterior mid-cingulate cortex during perceptual transitions, compared with SSVEP crosses. Overall, this work points to a careful interplay between early visual areas, the right posterior parietal cortex and the mid-cingulate cortex in mediating the spontaneous perceptual changes associated with binocular rivalry and has significant implications for future multimodal imaging studies of perception and awareness.
Project description:The functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal is regularly used to assign neuronal activity to cognitive function. Recent analyses have shown that the local field potential (LFP) gamma power is a better predictor of the fMRI BOLD signal than spiking activity. However, LFP gamma power and spiking activity are usually correlated, clouding the analysis of the neural basis of the BOLD signal. We show that changes in LFP gamma power and spiking activity in the primary visual cortex (V1) of the awake primate can be dissociated by using grating and plaid pattern stimuli, which differentially engage surround suppression and cross-orientation inhibition/facilitation within and between cortical columns. Grating presentation yielded substantial V1 LFP gamma frequency oscillations and significant multi-unit activity. Plaid pattern presentation significantly reduced the LFP gamma power while increasing population multi-unit activity. The fMRI BOLD activity followed the LFP gamma power changes, not the multi-unit activity. Inference of neuronal activity from the fMRI BOLD signal thus requires detailed a priori knowledge of how different stimuli or tasks activate the cortical network.
Project description:Rhythmic activity of neuronal ensembles has been proposed to play an important role in cognitive functions such as attention, perception, and memory. Here we investigate whether rhythmic activity in V1 of the macaque monkey (macaca mulatta) is affected by top-down visual attention. We measured the local field potential (LFP) and V1 spiking activity while monkeys performed an attention-demanding detection task. We show that gamma oscillations were strongly modulated by the stimulus and by attention. Stimuli that engaged inhibitory mechanisms induced the largest gamma LFP oscillations and the largest spike field coherence. Directing attention toward a visual stimulus at the receptive field of the recorded neurons decreased LFP gamma power and gamma spike field coherence. This decrease could reflect an attention-mediated reduction of surround inhibition. Changes in synchrony in V1 would thus be a byproduct of reduced inhibitory drive, rather than a mechanism that directly aids perceptual processing.
Project description:The human default mode network (DMN) shows decreased blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals in response to a wide range of attention-demanding tasks. Our understanding of the specifics regarding the neural activity underlying these "task-negative" BOLD responses remains incomplete. We paired oxygen polarography, an electrode-based oxygen measurement technique, with standard electrophysiological recording to assess the relationship of oxygen and neural activity in task-negative posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), a hub of the DMN, and visually responsive task-positive area V3 in the awake macaque. In response to engaging visual stimulation, oxygen, LFP power, and multi-unit activity in PCC showed transient activation followed by sustained suppression. In V3, oxygen, LFP power, and multi-unit activity showed an initial phasic response to the stimulus followed by sustained activation. Oxygen responses were correlated with LFP power in both areas, although the apparent hemodynamic coupling between oxygen level and electrophysiology differed across areas. Our results suggest that oxygen responses reflect changes in LFP power and multi-unit activity and that either the coupling of neural activity to blood flow and metabolism differs between PCC and V3 or computing a linear transformation from a single LFP band to oxygen level does not capture the true physiological process.
Project description:Most functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) animal studies rely on anesthesia, which can induce a variety of drug-dependent physiological changes, including depression of neuronal activity and cerebral metabolism as well as direct effects on the vasculature. The goal of this study was to characterize the effects of anesthesia on the BOLD signal and neuronal activity. Simultaneous fMRI and electrophysiology were used to measure changes in single units (SU), multi-unit activity (MUA), local field potentials (LFP), and the blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) response in the somatosensory cortex during whisker stimulation of rabbits before, during and after anesthesia with fentanyl or isoflurane. Our results indicate that anesthesia modulates the BOLD signal as well as both baseline and stimulus-evoked neuronal activity, and, most significantly, that the relationship between the BOLD and electrophysiological signals depends on the type of anesthetic. Specifically, the behavior of LFP observed under isoflurane did not parallel the behavior of BOLD, SU, or MUA. These findings suggest that the relationship between these signals may not be straightforward. BOLD may scale more closely with the best measure of the excitatory subcomponents of the underlying neuronal activity, which may vary according to experimental conditions that alter the excitatory/inhibitory balance in the cortex.
Project description:Resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) has recently revealed correlated signals in the spinal cord horns of monkeys and humans. However, the interpretation of these rsfMRI correlations as indicators of functional connectivity in the spinal cord remains unclear. Here, we recorded stimulus-evoked and spontaneous spiking activity and local field potentials (LFPs) from monkey spinal cord in order to validate fMRI measures. We found that both BOLD and electrophysiological signals elicited by tactile stimulation co-localized to the ipsilateral dorsal horn. Temporal profiles of stimulus-evoked BOLD signals covaried with LFP and multiunit spiking in a similar way to those observed in the brain. Functional connectivity of dorsal horns exhibited a U-shaped profile along the dorsal-intermediate-ventral axis. Overall, these results suggest that there is an intrinsic functional architecture within the gray matter of a single spinal segment, and that rsfMRI signals at high field directly reflect this underlying spontaneous neuronal activity.
Project description:To examine the role of the visual thalamus in perception, we recorded neural activity in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and pulvinar of 2 macaque monkeys during a visual illusion that induced the intermittent perceptual suppression of a bright luminance patch. Neural responses were sorted on the basis of the trial-to-trial visibility of the stimulus, as reported by the animals. We found that neurons in the dorsal and ventral pulvinar, but not the LGN, showed changes in spiking rate according to stimulus visibility. Passive viewing control sessions showed such modulation to be independent of the monkeys' active report. Perceptual suppression was also accompanied by a marked drop in low-frequency power (9-30 Hz) of the local field potential (LFP) throughout the visual thalamus, but this modulation was not observed during passive viewing. Our findings demonstrate that visual responses of pulvinar neurons reflect the perceptual awareness of a stimulus, while those of LGN neurons do not.
Project description:Even though the eyes constantly change position, the location of a stimulus can be accurately represented by a population of neurons with retinotopic receptive fields modulated by eye position gain fields. Recent electrophysiological studies, however, indicate that eye position gain fields may serve an additional function since they have a non-uniform spatial distribution that increases the neural response to stimuli in the straight-ahead direction. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a wide-field stimulus display to determine whether gaze modulations in early human visual cortex enhance the blood-oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) response to stimuli that are straight-ahead. Subjects viewed rotating polar angle wedge stimuli centered straight-ahead or vertically displaced by ± 20° eccentricity. Gaze position did not affect the topography of polar phase-angle maps, confirming that coding was retinotopic, but did affect the amplitude of the BOLD response, consistent with a gain field. In agreement with recent electrophysiological studies, BOLD responses in V1 and V2 to a wedge stimulus at a fixed retinal locus decreased when the wedge location in head-centered coordinates was farther from the straight-ahead direction. We conclude that stimulus-evoked BOLD signals are modulated by a systematic, non-uniform distribution of eye-position gain fields.