Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (Adapted from the Investigator's Abstract): The aim of this
project is to understand thalamocortical and corticocortical connections.
Although many details concerning the anatomy of thalamocortical and
corticocortical neurons are known, few physiological experiments have
studied the dynamic properties of thalamocortical networks. This project is
a continuation of studies that have successfully measured the functional
strength of connections between anatomically-connected brain neurons using
basic sensory stimulation techniques. In this project we propose
experiments to elucidate the behavior of a network of thalamic and cortical
neurons during more naturalistic stimulation and determine how selective
loss of sensory input alters neuronal interactions in these regions.

We will test the hypothesis that a moving cutaneous stimulus enhances
thalamocortical and corticocortical synchrony in the somatosensory system as
measured by cross-correlation analysis. They will accomplish this aim by
measuring and comparing the strength of thalamocortical and corticocortical
interactions produced by cutaneous RFs with stationary and moving stimuli.

They will test the hypothesis that plasticity of thalamocortical circuits
contribute towards cortical reorganization following temporary or permanent
loss of cutaneous inputs. This will be accomplished by chronically
implanting arrays of microwire electrodes into thalamus and measuring
changes in the topographical organization of thalamus produced by cutaneous
anesthesia or by transection of the digital nerves.

They will test the hypothesis that corticocortical interactions between
sensory-deprived and surrounding cortical regions become stronger during the
process of cortical reorganization. This will be accomplished by inserting
recording electrodes at regular intervals in the transition from innervated
to sensory deprived cortical representations and using cross-correlation
analysis and electrical microstimulation to measure the horizontal spread of
neuronal activity.

This project is concerned with uncovering fundamental principles of
governing corticocortical interactions and may shed light on the mechanisms
of cortical recruitment and other phenomenon involved in the etiology and
development of cortical seizures. Furthermore, experiments in this project
will examine changes in neuronal communication following sensory deprivation
and will advance our understanding of functional recovery from nerve injury
or other forms of damage to the peripheral or central nervous system.
Effective start/end date5/1/964/30/99


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


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