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Spatial Organization of Facial Vibrissae and Cortical Barrels in the Guinea Pig

Summary: Spatial Organization of Facial Vibrissae
and Cortical Barrels in the Guinea Pig
and Golden Hamster
Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
The arrangements of vibrissae in guinea pigs and golden hamsters were previously
reported to be different from those in mice and rats. Whereas the mystacial pads in mice and
rats include four straddlers and five rows of vibrissae, guinea pigs were described to possess
six rows of irregularly aligned mystacial vibrissae and no straddlers, and golden hamsters to
include seven vibrissal rows and also no straddlers. We found that all of these four species
possess similar vibrissal arrangements within the mystacial pad. To demonstrate this
similarity, we developed a new method of sinus hair visualization in flattened and cleared
preparations of the mystacial pad. Intrinsic muscles of the mystacial pad that were revealed
in thick histological preparations showed clearly the structural and functional relationships
between straddlers and vibrissal rows. To verify this finding, and to extend the knowledge of
vibrissal cortical representations in guinea pigs and golden hamsters, we have investigated
the spatial organization and the functional vibrissal representations of barrels in the
posteromedial barrel subfield (PMBSF) of these rodents. The barrel morphology was clearly
preserved in Nissl-stained sections and sections processed for cytochrome oxidase of flattened


Source: Ahissar, Ehud - Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science


Collections: Biology and Medicine