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Sparse, reliable, and long-term stable representation of periodic whisker deflections in the mouse barrel cortex


Mayrhofer, Johannes M; Haiss, Florent; Helmchen, Fritjof; Weber, Bruno (2015). Sparse, reliable, and long-term stable representation of periodic whisker deflections in the mouse barrel cortex. NeuroImage, 115:52-63.

Abstract

The rodent whisker system is a preferred model for studying plasticity in the somatosensory cortex (barrel cortex). Contrarily, only a small amount of research has been conducted to characterize the stability of neuronal population activity in the barrel cortex. We used the mouse whisker system to address the neuronal basis of stable perception in the somatosensory cortex. Cortical representation of periodic whisker deflections was studied in populations of neurons in supragranular layers over extended time periods (up to 3 months) with long-term two-photon Ca(2+) imaging in anesthetized mice. We found that in most of the neurons (87%), Ca(2+) responses increased sublinearly with increasing number of contralateral whisker deflections. The imaged population of neurons was activated in a stereotypic way over days and for different deflection rates (pulse frequencies). Thus, pulse frequencies are coded by response strength rather than by distinct neuronal sub-populations. A small population of highly responsive neurons (~3%) was sufficient to decode the whisker stimulus. This conserved functional map, led by a small set of highly responsive neurons, might form the foundation of stable sensory percepts.

Abstract

The rodent whisker system is a preferred model for studying plasticity in the somatosensory cortex (barrel cortex). Contrarily, only a small amount of research has been conducted to characterize the stability of neuronal population activity in the barrel cortex. We used the mouse whisker system to address the neuronal basis of stable perception in the somatosensory cortex. Cortical representation of periodic whisker deflections was studied in populations of neurons in supragranular layers over extended time periods (up to 3 months) with long-term two-photon Ca(2+) imaging in anesthetized mice. We found that in most of the neurons (87%), Ca(2+) responses increased sublinearly with increasing number of contralateral whisker deflections. The imaged population of neurons was activated in a stereotypic way over days and for different deflection rates (pulse frequencies). Thus, pulse frequencies are coded by response strength rather than by distinct neuronal sub-populations. A small population of highly responsive neurons (~3%) was sufficient to decode the whisker stimulus. This conserved functional map, led by a small set of highly responsive neurons, might form the foundation of stable sensory percepts.

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3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Barrel field and in vivo calcium-imaging; In vivo two-photon microscopy; Systems neuroscience; Vibrotactile perception; Whisker somatosensory cortex of mouse; Yellow Cameleon 3.60
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:23 Dec 2015 09:27
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 16:10
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.045
PubMed ID:25934471

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