The impact of suppressive surrounds on chromatic properties of cortical neurons.

Research paper by Samuel G SG Solomon, Jonathan W JW Peirce, Peter P Lennie

Indexed on: 13 Jan '04Published on: 13 Jan '04Published in: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience


Stimulation of the suppressive surround of a cortical neuron affects the responsivity and tuning of the classical receptive field (CRF) on several stimulus dimensions. In V1 and V2 of macaques prepared for acute electrophysiological experiments, we explored the chromatic sensitivity of the surround and its influence on the chromatic tuning of the CRF. We studied receptive fields of single neurons with patches of drifting grating of optimal spatial frequency and orientation and variable size, modulated along achromatic or isoluminant color directions. The responses of most neurons declined as the patch was enlarged beyond the optimal size (surround suppression). In V1 the suppression evoked by isoluminant gratings was less than one-half that evoked by achromatic gratings. Consequently, many cells were most sensitive to achromatic modulation when patches just covered the CRF but were most sensitive to isoluminant modulation when patches were enlarged to cover the suppressive surround. Non-oriented neurons that were strongly chromatically opponent generally lacked suppressive surrounds. In V2 most neurons showed equal surround suppression from isoluminant gratings and achromatic gratings. This makes the relative sensitivity of V2 neurons to achromatic and isoluminant gratings mainly independent of the size of the grating. We also measured the chromatic properties of the CRF in the presence of differently colored surrounds. In neither V1 nor V2 did the surround alter the chromatic tuning of the CRF. Cortical mechanisms sensitive to chromatic contrast seem to provide little input to the suppressive surrounds of V1 neurons but substantial input to those of V2 neurons.