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Thalamic control of cortical states


We investigated the impact of thalamus on ongoing cortical activity in the awake, behaving mouse. We demonstrate that the desynchronized cortical state during active behavior is driven by a centrally generated increase in thalamic action potential firing, which can also be mimicked by optogenetic stimulation of the thalamus. The thalamus therefore is key in controlling cortical states.

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Figure 1: Thalamic action potential firing rates increase during the active desynchronized cortical state.
Figure 2: Thalamic inactivation blocks the desynchronized cortical state during whisking.
Figure 3: Optogenetic stimulation of somatosensory thalamus drives cortical desynchronization.

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We would like to thank K. Svoboda (Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm; Addgene plasmid 20071) and C. Lüscher (University of Geneva; virus) for AAV-ChR2. This work was funded by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (C.C.H.P.), Human Frontiers in Science Program (J.F.A.P. and C.C.H.P.), (C.C.H.P.), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Exc 257 NeuroCure) (J.F.A.P.), a European Research Council starting grant (J.F.A.P.), Région Rhône-Alpes Exploradoc (L.M.J.F.) and Agence Nationale de la Recherche France (project AWAKE CX, ANR-09-JCJC-0028-01) (S.C.).

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J.F.A.P., L.M.J.F. and S.C. conducted experiments and carried out data analyses. C.C.H.P. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript. All authors commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sylvain Crochet or Carl C H Petersen.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1–8, Supplementary Tables 1–4, Supplementary Methods (PDF 5386 kb)

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Poulet, J., Fernandez, L., Crochet, S. et al. Thalamic control of cortical states. Nat Neurosci 15, 370–372 (2012).

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