Rich spatio-temporal stimulus dynamics unveil sensory specialization in cortical area S2 [Rich spatio-temporal stimulus dynamics unveil sensory specialization in cortical area S2.] Article - Octobre 2018

Matías Goldin, Luc Estebanez, Daniel E. Shulz

Matías Goldin, Luc Estebanez, Daniel E. Shulz, « Rich spatio-temporal stimulus dynamics unveil sensory specialization in cortical area S2 [Rich spatio-temporal stimulus dynamics unveil sensory specialization in cortical area S2.]  », Nature Communications, octobre 2018, p. 4053. ISSN 2041-1723

Abstract

Tactile perception in rodents depends on simultaneous, multi-whisker contacts with objects. Although it is known that neurons in secondary somatosensory cortex (wS2) respond to individual deflections of many whiskers, wS2’s precise function remains unknown. The convergence of information from multiple whiskers into wS2 neurons suggests that they are good candidates for integrating multi-whisker information. Here, we apply stimulation patterns with rich dynamics simultaneously to 24 macro-vibrissae of rats while recording large populations of single neurons. Varying inter-whisker correlations without changing single whisker statistics, we observe pronounced supra-linear multi-whisker integration. Using novel analysis methods, we show that continuous multi-whisker movements contribute to the firing of wS2 neurons over long temporal windows, facilitating spatio-temporal integration. In contrast, primary cortex (wS1) neurons encode fine features of whisker movements on precise temporal scales. These results provide the first description of wS2’s representation during multi-whisker stimulation and outline its specialized role in parallel to wS1 tactile processing.

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