Description: The physiological characteristics and organization of cat primary somatosensory cortex (SI) were studied in electrophysiological and anatomical experiments. In single cell recording experiments, quantitatively controlled mechanical stimuli were used to examine the responses of SI cortical neurons to the velocity component of skin or hair displacement. The firing frequency of most rapidly adapting neurons increased as stimulus velocity was increased. Rapidly adapting neurons were classified based on their response patterns to constant-velocity ramp stimuli. Neurons in these classes differed significantly in sensitivity to stimulus velocity and amplitude, adaptation rate, and spontaneous firing rate. The results suggest that frequency coding of stimulus displacement velocity could be performed by individual SI rapidly adapting neurons, and that the classes of rapidly adapting neurons may play different roles in sensation of tactile stimuli. Tract-tracing experiments were used to investigate the ipsilateral corticocortical connections of areas 3b and 2 in SI. Different patterns of connections were found for these areas: area 2 projects to areas 3b, 1, 3a, 5a, 4 and second somatosensory cortex (SII), and area 3b projects to areas 2, 1, 3a and SII. To further compare the organization of these areas, the thalamic input to the forepaw representation within each area was studied. The forepaw region in area 3b receives thalamic input exclusively from ventroposteriopr lateral nucleus (VPL), while area 2 receives input from VPL, medial division of the posterior complex (PoM), and lateral posterior nucleus (LP). These results suggest that area 2 lies at a higher position in the hierarchy of somatosensory information flow.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Esteky, Hossein