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Remodelling of hand representation in adult cortex determined by timing of tactile stimulation

Nature volume 378, pages 7175 (02 November 1995) | Download Citation

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Abstract

THE primate somatosensory cortex, which processes tactile stimuli, contains a topographic representation of the signals it receives, but the way in which such maps are maintained is poorly understood. Previous studies of cortical plasticity1–20 indicated that changes in cortical representation during learning arise largely as a result of hebbian synaptic change mechanisms. Here we show, using adult owl monkeys trained to respond to specific stimulus sequence events, that serial application of stimuli to the fingers results in changes to the neuronal response specificity and maps of the hand surfaces in the true primary somatosensory cortical field (SI area 3b). In this representational remodelling stimuli applied sychro-nously to the fingers resulted in these fingers being integrated in their representation, whereas fingers to which stimuli were applied asynchronously were segregated in their representation. Ventro-posterior thalamus response maps derived in these monkeys were not equivalently reorganized. This representational plasticity appears to be cortical in origin.

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Author notes

    • Xiaoqin Wang
    •  & Koichi Sameshima

    Present addresses: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Avenue, Traylor 710, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA (X.W.); University of Sao Paulo, School of Medicine, Discipline of Medicai, Informatics, Avenida Dr Arnaldo 455, 01246-903, Sao Paulo, Brazil (K.S.).

Affiliations

  1. Coleman Laboratory and Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California at San Francisco, Box 0732, San Francisco, California 94143, USA

    • Xiaoqin Wang
    • , Michael M. Merzenich
    • , Koichi Sameshima
    •  & William M. Jenkins

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https://doi.org/10.1038/378071a0

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