Crossover inhibition in the retina: circuitry that compensates for nonlinear rectifying synaptic transmission
A contrast reversal (alternating phase) stimulus was used to study the responses of 150 retinal ganglion cells from 15 adult cats. Because the majority of the cells did not show perfect linear spatial summation, a ratio of the firing rates at two time periods was used to express the degree of nonlinearity. Y-cells showed a high degree of nonlinearity, and their mean null ratio was significantly lower than that of X-cells. With the stimulus at the null position, X-cells had an unmodulated discharge rate which was significantly higher than maintained activity, while the firing rate of Y-cells was lower than maintained activity. With the stimulus placed at an eccentric position in the receptive field, X-cells responded in a sustained manner, while Y-cells respond transiently. Because of these observations, we conclude that X-cells correspond to the sustained cells, while Y-cells correspond to the transient cells.