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The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus 

The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus
The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus

S. Murray Sherman

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date: 12 December 2018

Circuitry in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), the thalamic relay of retinal input to cortex, has been well described, mainly in the cat. Two relay cell types, X and Y, plus GABAergic interneurons constitute the cell types involved. Relay cells receive only about 5% of their synapses from retinal on proximal dendrites, but these provide a powerful drive. Other inputs, from cortex, brainstem, and interneurons are modulatory in nature able to affect retinogeniculate transmission. Retinal input to Y cells is formed simply onto dendrites, but onto X cells, it interacts with GABAergic interneuronal terminals in complex triadic arrangements: the retinal terminal contacts the X cell dendrite and interneuronal terminal, which, in turn, contacts the same X cell dendrite. Finally, both geniculocortical axons and feedback corticothalamic axons pass through the thalamic reticular nucleus, synapsing on GABAergic cells there that, in turn, contact relay cells. Speculation of how this overall circuit functions are presented.

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