(1/2292) Impairment of neocortical long-term potentiation in mice deficient of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

The role of the possible retrograde messenger nitric oxide (NO) in the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) was studied in supragranular layers of somatosensory cortical slices obtained from adult mice. High-frequency stimulation produced a slowly rising, long-lasting (50 min) and significant (P < 0.001) increase in the extracellular synaptic response by 23%. The induction of LTP was independent from activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, but prevented by bath application of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), indicating that one or several of the different NO synthases (NOS) produced NO within the postsynaptic neuron. No LTP could be induced in knockout mice lacking the endothelial NOS (eNOS) isoform. These data suggest that eNOS is involved in an NMDA receptor-independent form of LTP in the rodent cerebral cortex.  (+info)

(2/2292) 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)

(3/2292) Varying the degree of single-whisker stimulation differentially affects phases of intrinsic signals in rat barrel cortex.

Using intrinsic signal optical imaging (ISI), we have shown previously that the point spread of evoked activity in the rat barrel cortex in response to single-whisker stimulation encompasses a surprisingly large area. Given that our typical stimulation consists of five deflections at 5 Hz, the large area of evoked activity might have resulted from repetitive stimulation. Thus in the present study, we use ISI through the thinned skull to determine whether decreasing the degree of single-whisker stimulation decreases the area of the cortical point spread. We additionally outline a protocol to quantify stimulus-related differences in the temporal characteristics of intrinsic signals at a fine spatial scale. In 10 adult rats, whisker C2 was stimulated randomly with either one or five deflections delivered in a rostral-to-caudal fashion. Each deflection consisted of a 0.5-mm displacement of the whisker as measured at the point of contact, 15 mm from the snout. The number of whisker deflections did not affect the area or peak magnitude of the cortical point spread based on the intrinsic signal activity occurring from 0.5 up to 1.5 s poststimulus onset. In contrast, the magnitude and time course of intrinsic signal activity collected after 1.5-s poststimulus onset did reflect the difference in the degree of stimulation. Thus decreasing the degree of stimulation differentially affected the early and late phases of the evoked intrinsic signal response. The implications of the present results are discussed in respect to probable differences in the signal source underlying the early versus later phases of evoked intrinsic signals.  (+info)

(4/2292) Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. I. Receptive fields and discharge patterns.

Three adolescent Macaca fascicularis monkeys weighing between 3.5 and 4 kg were trained to use a precision grip to grasp a metal tab mounted on a low friction vertical track and to lift and hold it in a 12- to 25-mm position window for 1 s. The surface texture of the metal tab in contact with the fingers and the weight of the object could be varied. The activity of 386 single cells with cutaneous receptive fields contacting the metal tab were recorded in Brodmann's areas 3b, 1, 2, 5, and 7 of the somatosensory cortex. In this first of a series of papers, we describe three types of discharge pattern, the receptive-field properties, and the anatomic distribution of the neurons. The majority of the receptive fields were cutaneous and covered less than one digit, and a chi2 test did not reveal any significant differences in the Brodmann's areas representing the thumb and index finger. Two broad categories of discharge pattern cells were identified. The first category, dynamic cells, showed a brief increase in activity beginning near grip onset, which quickly subsided despite continued pressure applied to the receptive field. Some of the dynamic neurons responded to both skin indentation and release. The second category, static cells, had higher activity during the stationary holding phase of the task. These static neurons demonstrated varying degrees of sensitivity to rates of pressure change on the skin. The percentage of dynamic versus static cells was about equal for areas 3b, 2, 5, and 7. Only area 1 had a higher proportion of dynamic cells (76%). A third category was identified that contained cells with significant pregrip activity and included cortical cells with both dynamic or static discharge patterns. Cells in this category showed activity increases before movement in the absence of receptive-field stimulation, suggesting that, in addition to peripheral cutaneous input, these cells also receive strong excitation from movement-related regions of the brain.  (+info)

(5/2292) Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. II. Responses To object texture and weights.

Three monkeys were trained to lift and hold a test object within a 12- to 25-mm position window for 1 s. The activity of single neurons was recorded during performance of the task in which both the weight and surface texture of the object were systematically varied. Whenever possible, each cell was tested with three weights (15, 65, and 115 g) and three textures (smooth metal, fine 200 grit sandpaper, and rough 60 grit sandpaper). Of 386 cells recorded in 3 monkeys, 45 cells had cutaneous receptive fields on the index or thumb or part of the thenar eminence and were held long enough to be tested in all 9 combinations of texture and weight. Recordings were made for the entire anterior-posterior extent of the thumb and index finger areas in somatosensory cortex including area 7b. However, the statistical analysis required a selection of only those cells for which nine complete recording conditions were available limiting the sample to cells in areas 2, 5, and 7b. Significant differences in the grip force accompanied 98% of the changes in texture and 78% of the changes in weight. Increasing the object weight also increased the force tangential to the skin surface as measured by the load or lifting force. The peak discharge during lifting was judged to be the most sensitive index of cell activity and was analyzed with a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). In addition, peak cell discharge was normalized to allow comparisons among different combinations of texture and weight as well as comparisons among different neurons. Overall, the peak firing frequency of 87% of the cells was significantly modulated by changes in object texture, but changes in object weight affected the peak activity of only 58% of the cells. Almost all (17/18, 94%) of the static cells were influenced by the object texture, and 81% of the dynamic cells that were active only briefly at grip and lift onset were modulated by texture. For some cells, surface texture had a significant effect on neuronal discharge that was independent of the object weight. In contrast, weight-related responses were never simple main effects of the weight alone and appeared instead as significant interactions between texture and weight. Four neurons either increased or decreased activity in a graded fashion with surface structure (roughness) regardless of the object weight (P < 0.05). Ten other neurons showed increases or decreases in response to one or two textures, which might represent either a graded response or a tuning preference for a specific texture. The firing frequency of the majority (31/45) of neurons reflected an interaction of both texture and weight. The cells with texture-related but weight-independent activities were thought to encode surface characteristics that are largely independent of the grip and lifting forces used to manipulate the object. Such constancies could be used to construct internal representations or mental models for planning and controlling object manipulation.  (+info)

(6/2292) Neuronal activity in somatosensory cortex of monkeys using a precision grip. III. Responses to altered friction perturbations.

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the activity changes in single units of the somatosensory cortex in response to lubricating and adhesive coatings applied to a hand-held object. Three monkeys were trained to grasp an object between the thumb and index fingers and to lift and hold it stationary within a narrow position window for 1 s before release. Grip forces normal to the skin surface, load forces tangential to the skin surface, and the displacement of the object were measured on each trial. Adhesive (rosin) and lubricant (petroleum jelly) coatings were applied to the smooth metal surface of the object to alter the friction against the skin. In addition, neuronal activity evoked by force pulse-perturbations generating shear forces and slip on the skin were compared with the patterns of activity elicited by grasping and lifting the coated surfaces. Following changes in surface coatings, both monkeys modulated the rate at which grip forces normal to the skin surface and load forces tangential to the skin surface were applied during the lifting phase of the task. As a result, the ratio of the rates of change of the two forces was proportionately scaled to the surface coating properties with the more slippery surfaces, having higher ratios. This precise control of normal and tangential forces enabled the monkeys to generate adequate grip forces and prevent slip of the object. From a total of 386 single neurons recorded in the hand area of the somatosensory cortex, 92 were tested with at least 1 coating. Cell discharge changed significantly with changes in surface coating in 62 (67%) of these cells. Of these coating-related cells, 51 were tested with both an adhesive and lubricating coating, and 45 showed significant differences in activity between the untreated metal surface and either the lubricant or the adhesive coating. These cells were divided into three main groups on the basis of their response patterns. In the first group (group A), the peak discharge increased significantly when the grasped surface was covered with lubricant. These cells appeared to be selectively sensitive to slip of the object on the skin. The second group (group B) was less activated by the adhesive surface compared with either the untreated metal or the lubricated surface, and they responded mainly to variations in the force normal to the skin surface. These cells provide useful feedback for the control of grip force. The third group (group C) responded to both slips and to changes in forces tangential to the skin. Most of these cells responded with a biphasic pattern reflecting the bidirectional changes in load force as the object was first accelerated and then decelerated. One hundred sixty-eight of the 386 isolated neurons were tested with brief perturbations during the task. Of these, 147 (88%) responded to the perturbation with a significant change in activity. In most of the cells, the response to the perturbation was shorter than 100 ms with a mean latency of 44.1 +/- 16.3 (SD) ms. For each of the cell groups, the activity patterns triggered by the perturbations were consistent with the activity patterns generated during the grasping and lifting of the coated object.  (+info)

(7/2292) Analysis of optical signals evoked by peripheral nerve stimulation in rat somatosensory cortex: dynamic changes in hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation.

The origins of reflected light changes associated with neuronal activity (optical signals) were investigated in rat somatosensory cortex with optical imaging, microspectrophotometry, and laser-Doppler flowmetry, and dynamic changes in local hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation were focused on. Functional activation was carried out by 2-second, 5-Hz electrical stimulation of the hind limb under chloralose anesthesia. These measurements were performed at the contralateral parietal cortex through a thinned skull. Regional cortical blood flow (rCBF) started to rise 1.5 seconds after the stimulus onset, peaked at 3.5 seconds (26.7% +/- 9.7% increase over baseline), and returned to near baseline by 10 seconds. Optical signal responses at 577, 586, and 805 nm showed a monophasic increase in absorbance coincident with the increase in rCBF; however, the signal responses at 605 and 760 nm were biphasic (an early increase and late decrease in absorbance) and microanatomically heterogeneous. The spectral changes of absorbance indicated that the concentrations of both total hemoglobin and oxyhemoglobin increased together with rCBF; deoxyhemoglobin, increased slightly but distinctly (P = 0.016 at 1.0 seconds, P = 0.00038 at 1.5 seconds) just before rCBF increases, then decreased. The authors conclude that activity-related optical signals are greatly associated with a moment-to-moment adjustment of rCBF and metabolism to neuronal activity.  (+info)

(8/2292) Synchronization of local neural networks in the somatosensory cortex: A comparison of stationary and moving stimuli.

Spontaneous and stimulus-induced responses were recorded from neighboring groups of neurons by an array of electrodes in the primary (SI) somatosensory cortex of intact, halothane-anesthetized cats. Cross-correlation analysis was used to characterize the coordination of spontaneous activity and the responses to peripheral stimulation with moving or stationary air jets. Although synchronization was detected in only 10% (88 of 880) of the pairs of single neurons that were recorded, cross-correlation analysis of multiunit responses revealed significant levels of synchronization in 64% of the 123 recorded electrode pairs. Compared with spontaneous activity, both stationary and moving air jets caused substantial increases in the rate, proportion, and temporal precision of synchronized activity in local regions of SI cortex. Among populations of neurons that were synchronized by both types of air-jet stimulation, the mean rate of synchronized activity was significantly higher during moving air-jet stimulation than during stationary air-jet stimulation. Moving air jets also produced significantly higher correlation coefficients than stationary air jets in the raw cross-correlograms (CCGs) but not in the shift-corrected CCGs. The incidence and rate of stimulus-induced synchronization varied with the distance separating the recording sites. For sites separated by /=500 microm, only 37% of the multiunit responses were synchronized by discrete stimulation with a single air jet. Measurements of the multiunit CCG peak half-widths showed that the correlated activity produced by moving air jets had slightly less temporal variability than that produced by stationary air jets. These results indicate that moving stimuli produce greater levels of synchronization than stationary stimuli among local groups of SI neurons and suggest that neuronal synchronization may supplement the changes in firing rate which code intensity and other attributes of a cutaneous stimulus.  (+info)