Diverse tuning underlies sparse activity in L2/3 vibrissal cortex of awake mice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Yadollah Ranjbar-Slamloo, Ehsan Arabzadeh


It is widely reported that superficial layers of the somatosensory cortex exhibit sparse firing. This sparseness could reflect weak feedforward sensory inputs that are not sufficient to generate action potentials in these layers. Alternatively, sparseness might reflect tuning to unknown or higher-level complex features that are not fully explored in the stimulus space. Here, we examined these hypotheses by applying a range of vibrotactile and manual vibrissal stimuli in awake, head-fixed mice while performing loose-seal cell-attached recordings from the vibrissal primary somatosensory (vS1) cortex. A high-velocity stimulus delivered by a piezo-electric actuator evoked activity in a small fraction of regular spiking supragranular neurons (29%) in awake condition. However, a majority of the supragranular regular spiking neurons (84%) were driven by manual stimulation of whiskers. Our results suggest that most neurons in the superficial layers of vS1 cortex contribute to coding in awake conditions when neurons may encounter their preferred feature(s) during whisker-object interactions.

Related Concepts

Cerebral Cortex
Head Neoplasms
Laboratory mice
Somatosensory Cortex
Anatomical Space Structure
Cell-Matrix Junction
Primary Somatosensory Cortex
Fzd8 Fusion Protein OMP-54F28

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