Competitive mechanisms subserve attention in macaque areas V2 and V4.
It is well established that attention modulates visual processing in extrastriate cortex. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are unknown. A consistent observation is that attention has its greatest impact on neuronal responses when multiple stimuli appear together within a cell's receptive field. One way to explain this is to assume that multiple stimuli activate competing populations of neurons and that attention biases this competition in favor of the attended stimulus. In the absence of competing stimuli, there is no competition to be resolved. Accordingly, attention has a more limited effect on the neuronal response to a single stimulus. To test this interpretation, we measured the responses of neurons in macaque areas V2 and V4 using a behavioral paradigm that allowed us to isolate automatic sensory processing mechanisms from attentional effects. First, we measured each cell's response to a single stimulus presented alone inside the receptive field or paired with a second receptive field stimulus, while the monkey attended to a location outside the receptive field. Adding the second stimulus typically caused the neuron's response to move toward the response that was elicited by the second stimulus alone. Then, we directed the monkey's attention to one element of the pair. This drove the neuron's response toward the response elicited when the attended stimulus appeared alone. These findings are consistent with the idea that attention biases competitive interactions among neurons, causing them to respond primarily to the attended stimulus. A quantitative neural model of attention is proposed to account for these results. (+info)
Cerebellar Purkinje cell simple spike discharge encodes movement velocity in primates during visuomotor arm tracking.
Pathophysiological, lesion, and electrophysiological studies suggest that the cerebellar cortex is important for controlling the direction and speed of movement. The relationship of cerebellar Purkinje cell discharge to the control of arm movement parameters, however, remains unclear. The goal of this study was to examine how movement direction and speed and their interaction-velocity-modulate Purkinje cell simple spike discharge in an arm movement task in which direction and speed were independently controlled. The simple spike discharge of 154 Purkinje cells was recorded in two monkeys during the performance of two visuomotor tasks that required the animals to track targets that moved in one of eight directions and at one of four speeds. Single-parameter regression analyses revealed that a large proportion of cells had discharge modulation related to movement direction and speed. Most cells with significant directional tuning, however, were modulated at one speed, and most cells with speed-related discharge were modulated along one direction; this suggested that the patterns of simple spike discharge were not adequately described by single-parameter models. Therefore, a regression surface was fitted to the data, which showed that the discharge could be tuned to specific direction-speed combinations (preferred velocities). The overall variability in simple spike discharge was well described by the surface model, and the velocities corresponding to maximal and minimal discharge rates were distributed uniformly throughout the workspace. Simple spike discharge therefore appears to integrate information about both the direction and speed of arm movements, thereby encoding movement velocity. (+info)
Spinal cord-evoked potentials and muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation in 10 awake human subjects.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TCMS) causes leg muscle contractions, but the neural structures in the brain that are activated by TCMS and their relationship to these leg muscle responses are not clearly understood. To elucidate this, we concomitantly recorded leg muscle responses and thoracic spinal cord-evoked potentials (SCEPs) after TCMS for the first time in 10 awake, neurologically intact human subjects. In this report we provide evidence of direct and indirect activation of corticospinal neurons after TCMS. In three subjects, SCEP threshold (T) stimulus intensities recruited both the D wave (direct activation of corticospinal neurons) and the first I wave (I1, indirect activation of corticospinal neurons). In one subject, the D, I1, and I2 waves were recruited simultaneously, and in another subject, the I1 and I2 waves were recruited simultaneously. In the remaining five subjects, only the I1 wave was recruited first. More waves were recruited as the stimulus intensity increased. The presence of D and I waves in all subjects at low stimulus intensities verified that TCMS directly and indirectly activated corticospinal neurons supplying the lower extremities. Leg muscle responses were usually contingent on the SCEP containing at least four waves (D, I1, I2, and I3). (+info)
Augmentation is a potentiation of the exocytotic process.
Short-term synaptic enhancement is caused by an increase in the probability with which synaptic terminals release transmitter in response to presynaptic action potentials. Since exocytosed vesicles are drawn from a readily releasable pool of packaged transmitter, enhancement must result either from an increase in the size of the pool or an elevation in the fraction of releasable vesicles that undergoes exocytosis with each action potential. We show here that at least one major component of enhancement, augmentation, is not caused by an increase in the size of the readily releasable pool but is instead associated with an increase in the efficiency with which action potentials induce the exocytosis of readily releasable vesicles. (+info)
Multiple point electrical stimulation of ulnar and median nerves.
A computer-assisted method of isolating single motor units (MUs) by multiple point stimulation (MPS) of peripheral nerves is described. MPS was used to isolate 10-30 single MUs from thenar and hypothenar muscles of normal subjects and patients with entrapment neuropathies, with the original purpose of obtaining a more representative mean motor unit potential for estimating the number of MUs in a muscle. The two important results that evolved from MPS however, were: (1) in the absence of 'alternation' MUs were recruited in an orderly pattern from small to large, and from longer to shorter latencies by graded electrical stimulation in both normal and pathological cases, (2) a comparison of the sizes of MUs recruited by stimulation proximal and distal to the elbow suggested that axonal branching can occur in the forearm 200 mm or more proximal to the motor point in intrinsic hand muscles. (+info)
Electrophysiological evidence for tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channels in slowly conducting dural sensory fibers.
A tetrodotoxin (TTX)-resistant sodium channel was recently identified that is expressed only in small diameter neurons of peripheral sensory ganglia. The peripheral axons of sensory neurons appear to lack this channel, but its presence has not been investigated in peripheral nerve endings, the site of sensory transduction in vivo. We investigated the effect of TTX on mechanoresponsiveness in nerve endings of sensory neurons that innervate the intracranial dura. Because the degree of TTX resistance of axonal branches could potentially be affected by factors other than channel subtype, the neurons were also tested for sensitivity to lidocaine, which blocks both TTX-sensitive and TTX-resistant sodium channels. Single-unit activity was recorded from dural afferent neurons in the trigeminal ganglion of urethan-anesthetized rats. Response thresholds to mechanical stimulation of the dura were determined with von Frey monofilaments while exposing the dura to progressively increasing concentrations of TTX or lidocaine. Neurons with slowly conducting axons were relatively resistant to TTX. Application of 1 microM TTX produced complete suppression of mechanoresponsiveness in all (11/11) fast A-delta units [conduction velocity (c.v.) 5-18 m/s] but only 50% (5/10) of slow A-delta units (1.5 +info)
Source of inappropriate receptive fields in cortical somatotopic maps from rats that sustained neonatal forelimb removal.
Previously this laboratory demonstrated that forelimb removal at birth in rats results in the invasion of the cuneate nucleus by sciatic nerve axons and the development of cuneothalamic cells with receptive fields that include both the forelimb-stump and the hindlimb. However, unit-cluster recordings from primary somatosensory cortex (SI) of these animals revealed few sites in the forelimb-stump representation where responses to hindlimb stimulation also could be recorded. Recently we reported that hindlimb inputs to the SI forelimb-stump representation are suppressed functionally in neonatally amputated rats and that GABAergic inhibition is involved in this process. The present study was undertaken to assess the role that intracortical projections from the SI hindlimb representation may play in the functional reorganization of the SI forelimb-stump field in these animals. The SI forelimb-stump representation was mapped during gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-receptor blockade, both before and after electrolytic destruction of the SI hindlimb representation. Analysis of eight amputated rats showed that 75.8% of 264 stump recording sites possessed hindlimb receptive fields before destruction of the SI hindlimb. After the lesions, significantly fewer sites (13.2% of 197) were responsive to hindlimb stimulation (P < 0.0001). Electrolytic destruction of the SI lower-jaw representation in four additional control rats with neonatal forelimb amputation did not significantly reduce the percentage of hindlimb-responsive sites in the SI stump field during GABA-receptor blockade (P = 0.98). Similar results were obtained from three manipulated rats in which the SI hindlimb representation was silenced temporarily with a local cobalt chloride injection. Analysis of response latencies to sciatic nerve stimulation in the hindlimb and forelimb-stump representations suggested that the intracortical pathway(s) mediating the hindlimb responses in the forelimb-stump field may be polysynaptic. The mean latency to sciatic nerve stimulation at responsive sites in the GABA-receptor blocked SI stump representation of neonatally amputated rats was significantly longer than that for recording sites in the hindlimb representation [26.3 +/- 8.1 (SD) ms vs. 10.8 +/- 2.4 ms, respectively, P < 0.0001]. These results suggest that hindlimb input to the SI forelimb-stump representation detected in GABA-blocked cortices of neonatally forelimb amputated rats originates primarily from the SI hindlimb representation. (+info)
Corticofugal amplification of facilitative auditory responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons in the mustached bat.
Recent studies on the bat's auditory system indicate that the corticofugal system mediates a highly focused positive feedback to physiologically "matched" subcortical neurons, and widespread lateral inhibition to physiologically "unmatched" subcortical neurons, to adjust and improve information processing. These findings have solved the controversy in physiological data, accumulated since 1962, of corticofugal effects on subcortical auditory neurons: inhibitory, excitatory, or both (an inhibitory effect is much more frequent than an excitatory effect). In the mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii parnellii, the inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body, and auditory cortex each have "FM-FM" neurons, which are "combination-sensitive" and are tuned to specific time delays (echo delays) of echo FM components from the FM components of an emitted biosonar pulse. FM-FM neurons are more complex in response properties than cortical neurons which primarily respond to single tones. In the present study, we found that inactivation of the entire FM-FM area in the cortex, including neurons both physiologically matched and unmatched with subcortical FM-FM neurons, on the average reduced the facilitative responses to paired FM sounds by 82% for thalamic FM-FM neurons and by 66% for collicular FM-FM neurons. The corticofugal influence on the facilitative responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons is much larger than that on the excitatory responses of subcortical neurons primarily responding to single tones. Therefore we propose the hypothesis that, in general, the processing of complex sounds by combination-sensitive neurons more heavily depends on the corticofugal system than that by single-tone sensitive neurons. (+info)