Simultaneous Top-down Modulation of the Primary Somatosensory Cortex and Thalamic Nuclei during Active Tactile Discrimination

The rat somatosensory system contains multiple thalamocortical loops (TCLs) that altogether process, in fundamentally different ways, tactile stimuli delivered passively or actively sampled. To elucidate potential top-down mechanisms that governTCLprocessing in awake, behaving animals, we simultaneously recorded neuronal ensemble activity across multiple cortical and thalamic areas while rats performed an active aperture discrimination task…Read Full Article Here

Cover legend: As a rat is about to sample a tactile discriminanda in complete darkness solely using its whiskers, multiple anticipatory modulations occur in the somatosensory cortex and thalamus. These modulations (represented in red in the color-coded activity map) originate in M1 and are good predictors of speed and tactile performance. These simultaneous top-down modulations observed in multiple trigeminal pathways indicate that the trigeminal system does not operate based on a labeled line scheme. Cover design by Katie Zhuang, Nicolelis Labs. For more information, see the article by Pais-Vieira et al. (pages 4076–4093).

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