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Spacek, Martin A; Crombie, Davide; Bauer, Yannik; Born, Gregory; Liu, Xinyu; Katzner, Steffen; Busse, Laura (2022): Robust effects of corticothalamic feedback and behavioral state on movie responses in mouse dLGN. eLife, 11. ISSN 2050-084X

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Neurons in the dorsolateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the thalamus receive a substantial proportion of modulatory inputs from corticothalamic (CT) feedback and brain stem nuclei. Hypothesizing that these modulatory influences might be differentially engaged depending on the visual stimulus and behavioral state, we performed in vivo extracellular recordings from mouse dLGN while optogenetically suppressing CT feedback and monitoring behavioral state by locomotion and pupil dilation. For naturalistic movie clips, we found CT feedback to consistently increase dLGN response gain and promote tonic firing. In contrast, for gratings, CT feedback effects on firing rates were mixed. For both stimulus types, the neural signatures of CT feedback closely resembled those of behavioral state, yet effects of behavioral state on responses to movies persisted even when CT feedback was suppressed. We conclude that CT feedback modulates visual information on its way to cortex in a stimulus-dependent manner, but largely independently of behavioral state.

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