Background light and the contrast gain of primate P and M retinal ganglion cells

K. Purpura, E. Kaplan, R. M. Shapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinal ganglion cells projecting to the monkey lateral geniculate nucleus fall into two classes: those projecting to the magnocellular layers of the nucleus (M cells) have a higher contrast gain to luminance patterns at photopic levels of retinal illumination than those projecting to the parvocellular layers (P cells). We report here that this difference in luminance contrast gain between M and P cells is maintained at low levels of mean retinal illumination. In fact, our results suggest that in the mesopic and scotopic ranges of mean illumination, the M-cell/magnocellular pathway is the predominant conveyor of information about spatial contrast to the visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4534-4537
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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