Temporal Modulation of Spatial Borders in Rat Barrel Cortex
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We examined the effects of varying vibrissa stimulation frequency on intrinsic signal and neuronal responses in rat barrel cortex. Optical imaging of intrinsic signals demonstrated that the region of cortex activated by deflection of a single vibrissa at 1 Hz is more diffuse and more widespread than the territory activated at 5 or 10 Hz. With the use of two different paradigms, constant time of stimulation and constant number of vibrissa deflections, we showed that the optically imaged spread of activity is more discrete at higher stimulation frequencies. We combined optical imaging with multiple electrode recording and confirmed that the neuronal response to individual vibrissa stimulation at the optically imaged center of activity is greater than the response away from the imaged center. Consistent with the imaging data, these recordings also showed no response to a second vibrissa deflection at 5 Hz at a peripheral recording site, though there was a significant response to a second vibrissa deflection at 1 Hz at the same peripheral site. These findings demonstrate that vibrissa stimulation at higher frequencies leads to more focused physiological responses in cortex. Thus the spread of activation in rat barrel cortex is modulated in a dynamic fashion by the frequency of vibrissa stimulation.
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