Relationship between the organization of the forepaw barrel subfield and the representation of the forepaw in layer IV of rat somatosensory cortex

Robert Waters, Cheng X. Li, Carl A. McCandlish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the organization of the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) in layer IV of adult rat somatosensory cortex using the mitochondrial marker cytochrome oxidase and related this organization to the representation of the forepaw. The FBS is an ovoid structure consisting of barrels and barrel-like structures, the most conspicuous of which form four centrally located medio lateral running bands. Each band contains three to four barrels. These centrally located bands are bordered along their entire lateral side by a nebulous zone of undifferentiated labeling. At the anterior border, two small barrels are located laterally and one or two larger barrels are located medially. Medial to the central zone are three well-defined barrels. The posterior border consists of a nebulous field of labeling and occasional barrel-like structures. The results from our electrophysiological recording and mapping revealed that the forepaw representation was topographically organized into a single map and that the forepaw map matches almost precisely with individual barrels and barrel-like structures in the FBS. Each of the four central bands is associated with the representation of a single glabrous digit. Digit two (D2) is represented anteriorly and followed posteriorly by D3 through D5. Within each digit band the digit is somatotopically organized, with the skin over the distal phalanx represented in the two lateral barrels and the middle and proximal phalanges represented in the medial barrel(s). The dorsal hairy digit skin and dorsal hand are represented in the lateral zone. D1 is represented by two small anteriorly located barrels. Medial to the representation of the glabrous digits is the representation of the palmar pads. The representation of these pads, in turn, lies between the representations of the thenar (located anteriorly) and hypothenar (located posteriorly) pads. Posterior to the hypothenar pad representation lie the representations of the wrist and forearm. While the present results support the conclusion that individual barrels are associated with discrete locations on the forepaw, examples were found where the recording site was not precisely located within the predicted barrel. Some of these errors may be accounted for by limitations in the mapping techniques; nevertheless, the FBS offers an excellent model system to study relationships between cortical structure and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume103
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995

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Somatosensory Cortex
Skin
Electron Transport Complex IV
Wrist
Forearm
Running
Hand

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Relationship between the organization of the forepaw barrel subfield and the representation of the forepaw in layer IV of rat somatosensory cortex. / Waters, Robert; Li, Cheng X.; McCandlish, Carl A.

In: Experimental Brain Research, Vol. 103, No. 2, 01.03.1995, p. 183-197.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "We studied the organization of the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) in layer IV of adult rat somatosensory cortex using the mitochondrial marker cytochrome oxidase and related this organization to the representation of the forepaw. The FBS is an ovoid structure consisting of barrels and barrel-like structures, the most conspicuous of which form four centrally located medio lateral running bands. Each band contains three to four barrels. These centrally located bands are bordered along their entire lateral side by a nebulous zone of undifferentiated labeling. At the anterior border, two small barrels are located laterally and one or two larger barrels are located medially. Medial to the central zone are three well-defined barrels. The posterior border consists of a nebulous field of labeling and occasional barrel-like structures. The results from our electrophysiological recording and mapping revealed that the forepaw representation was topographically organized into a single map and that the forepaw map matches almost precisely with individual barrels and barrel-like structures in the FBS. Each of the four central bands is associated with the representation of a single glabrous digit. Digit two (D2) is represented anteriorly and followed posteriorly by D3 through D5. Within each digit band the digit is somatotopically organized, with the skin over the distal phalanx represented in the two lateral barrels and the middle and proximal phalanges represented in the medial barrel(s). The dorsal hairy digit skin and dorsal hand are represented in the lateral zone. D1 is represented by two small anteriorly located barrels. Medial to the representation of the glabrous digits is the representation of the palmar pads. The representation of these pads, in turn, lies between the representations of the thenar (located anteriorly) and hypothenar (located posteriorly) pads. Posterior to the hypothenar pad representation lie the representations of the wrist and forearm. While the present results support the conclusion that individual barrels are associated with discrete locations on the forepaw, examples were found where the recording site was not precisely located within the predicted barrel. Some of these errors may be accounted for by limitations in the mapping techniques; nevertheless, the FBS offers an excellent model system to study relationships between cortical structure and function.",
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