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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 May 14;93(10):4942-7.

Quantitative long-term imaging of the functional representation of a whisker in rat barrel cortex.

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1
Department of Psychobiology, University of California, Irvine, 92717-4550, USA.

Abstract

In this study, we implement chronic optical imaging of intrinsic signals in rat barrel cortex and repeatedly quantify the functional representation of a single whisker over time. The success of chronic imaging for more than 1 month enabled an evaluation of the normal dynamic range of this sensory representation. In individual animals for a period of several weeks, we found that: (i) the average spatial extent of the quantified functional representation of whisker C2 is surprisingly large--1.71 mm2 (area at half-height); (ii) the location of the functional representation is consistent; and (iii) there are ongoing but nonsystematic changes in spatiotemporal characteristics such as the size, shape, and response amplitude of the functional representation. These results support a modified description of the functional organization of barrel cortex, where although a precisely located module corresponds to a specific whisker, this module is dynamic, large, and overlaps considerably with the modules of many other whiskers.

PMID:
8643508
PMCID:
PMC39384
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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