Spatiotemporal signal transmission in the human subcortical visual pathway has not been directly demonstrated to date. To delineate this signal transmission noninvasively, we investigated the early latency components between 45 ms (P45m) and 75 ms (N75m) of visually-evoked neuromagnetic fields (VEFs). Four healthy volunteers participated in this study. Hemi-visual field light flash stimuli were delivered a total of 1200 times. Neuromagnetic responses were measured with a 160-channel whole-head gradiometer. In three participants, averaged waveforms indicated a subtle but distinct component that peaked with a very early latency at 44.7 ± 2.1 ms with an initial rise latency of 36.8 ± 3.1 ms, followed by a typical prominent cortical component at 75 ms. The moving equivalent current dipoles continuously estimated from P45m to N75m were first localized in the vicinity of the contralateral lateral geniculate body, then rapidly propagated along the optic radiation and finally terminated in the contralateral calcarine fissure. This result indicates that the source of P45m is the lateral geniculate body and that the early latency components P45m-N75m of the VEFs reflect neural transmission in the optic radiation. This is the first report to noninvasively demonstrate the neurophysiological transmission of visual information through the optic radiation.
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