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J Neurophysiol. 2002 Apr;87(4):2137-48.

Coherent electrical activity between vibrissa sensory areas of cerebellum and neocortex is enhanced during free whisking.

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Department of Physics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


We tested if coherent signaling between the sensory vibrissa areas of cerebellum and neocortex in rats was enhanced as they whisked in air. Whisking was accompanied by 5- to 15-Hz oscillations in the mystatial electromyogram, a measure of vibrissa position, and by 5- to 20-Hz oscillations in the differentially recorded local field potential (nablaLFP) within the vibrissa area of cerebellum and within the nablaLFP of primary sensory cortex. We observed that only 10% of the activity in either cerebellum or sensory neocortex was significantly phase-locked to rhythmic motion of the vibrissae; the extent of this modulation is in agreement with the results from previous single-unit measurements in sensory neocortex. In addition, we found that 40% of the activity in the vibrissa areas of cerebellum and neocortex was significantly coherent during periods of whisking. The relatively high level of coherence between these two brain areas, in comparison with their relatively low coherence with whisking per se, implies that the vibrissa areas of cerebellum and neocortex communicate in a manner that is incommensurate with whisking. To the extent that the vibrissa areas of cerebellum and neocortex communicate over the same frequency band as that used by whisking, these areas must multiplex electrical activity that is internal to the brain with activity that is that phase-locked to vibrissa sensory input.

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