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Crombie, Davide; Spacek, Martin A.; Leibold, Christian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4859-8000 and Busse, Laura ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6127-7754 (2021): Pupil size dynamics predict dLGN firing mode over a wide range of timescales. bioRxiv, [PDF, 4MB]

Abstract

Pupil size is a commonly used proxy for waking brain states such as arousal, and has been related to activity modulations in cortical sensory areas. Here, we asked whether the dorsolateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN), which provides sensory input to the visual cortex, is modulated by pupil-indexed arousal. Observing that the pupil size oscillates at multiple timescales, we developed a method to show that the spiking mode of the dLGN is predicted by pupil size oscillations over several of these timescales. Overall, we found that tonic spikes preferentially occurred during pupil dilation, while bursts occurred during contraction. These preferences could not be explained solely by pupil size per se or by the locomotion of the animal, and were also present during periods of stimulus viewing. We conclude that dLGN spiking activity is modulated by pupil-indexed arousal processes on various timescales, influencing the mode in which sensory signals are passed on to the cortex.

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