Document Detail

The Representation of Social Facial Touch in Rat Barrel Cortex.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24361064     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Controlled presentation of stimuli to anesthetized [1] or awake [2] animals suggested that neurons in sensory cortices respond to elementary features [3, 4], but we know little about neuronal responses evoked by social interactions. Here we investigate processing in the barrel cortex of rats engaging in social facial touch [5, 6]. Sensory stimulation by conspecifics differs from classic whisker stimuli such as deflections, contact poles [7, 8], or textures [9, 10]. A large fraction of barrel cortex neurons responded to facial touch. Social touch responses peaked when animals aligned their faces and contacted each other by multiple whiskers with small, irregular whisker movements. Object touch was associated with larger, more regular whisker movements, and object responses were weaker than social responses. Whisker trimming abolished responses. During social touch, neurons in males increased their firing on average by 44%, while neurons in females increased their firing by only 19%. In females, socially evoked and ongoing firing rates were more than 1.5-fold higher in nonestrus than in estrus. Barrel cortex represented socially different contacts by distinct firing rates, and the variation of activity with sex and sexual status could contribute to the generation of gender-specific neural constructs of conspecifics.
Evgeny Bobrov; Jason Wolfe; Rajnish P Rao; Michael Brecht
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-12-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1879-0445     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2013 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-12-23     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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