lateral inhibitionmedical dictionary

A simple form of information processing. The classic example is found in the eye, whereby ganglion cells are stimulated if photoreceptors in a well defined field are illuminated, but their response is inhibited if neighbouring photoreceptors are excited (an on field/off surround cell) or vice versa an off field/on surround cell. The effect of lateral inhibition is to produce edge or boundary sensitive cells and to reduce the amount of information that is sent to higher centres, a form of peripheral processing.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)