Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sensory processing in mouse motor cortex

Over at Nature's neuroscience group, I wrote up a summary and discussion of the excellent paper Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Cortical Sensorimotor Integration in Behaving Mice by by Ferezou et al.. You can find the original paper here, and my summary is here.

Here is the conclusion paragraph of my summary:
Ferezou et al. showed that subthreshold responses to whisker stimulation can be quite broadly distributed, often extending into M1. This suggests that M1 does not have a purely motor function, but serves also to process sensory information. While M1 projects directly to the brain stem and spinal cord to coordinate motor activity, its tight link with S1 opens up interesting questions about its role in sensory processing and sensorimotor transformations. Also, the sensory response in S1 and M1 depends on the behavioral state of the animal, suggesting that sensory processing isn’t a stationary process, but is sensitive to the context in which a stimulus is delivered. So, when someone asks how a mouse’s cortex would respond to a given stimulus, you probably have to ask, “What is the critter doing?”

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