Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Science. 2016 Nov 11;354(6313):757-760.

Neural correlates of ticklishness in the rat somatosensory cortex.

Author information

1
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Institut für Biologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany.
2
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Institut für Biologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany. michael.brecht@bccn-berlin.de.
3
NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Rats emit ultrasonic vocalizations in response to tickling by humans. Tickling is rewarding through dopaminergic mechanisms, but the function and neural correlates of ticklishness are unknown. We confirmed that tickling of rats evoked vocalizations, approach, and unsolicited jumps (Freudensprünge). Recordings in the trunk region of the rat somatosensory cortex showed intense tickling-evoked activity in most neurons, whereas a minority of cells were suppressed by tickling. Tickling responses predicted nontactile neural responses to play behaviors, which suggests a neuronal link between tickling and play. Anxiogenic conditions suppressed tickling-evoked vocalizations and trunk cortex activity. Deep-layer trunk cortex neurons discharged during vocalizations, and deep-layer microstimulation evoked vocalizations. Our findings provide evidence for deep-layer trunk cortex activity as a neural correlate of ticklishness.

PMID:
27846607
DOI:
10.1126/science.aah5114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center