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Neuron, Vol. 40, 621630, October 30, 2003, Copyright 2003 by Cell Press Encoding of Vibrissal Active Touch

Summary: Neuron, Vol. 40, 621630, October 30, 2003, Copyright 2003 by Cell Press
Encoding of Vibrissal Active Touch
conducted using moving stimuli applied to stationary,Marcin Szwed, Knarik Bagdasarian,
passive whiskers (Gibson and Welker, 1983; Lichtensteinand Ehud Ahissar*
et al., 1990; Shoykhet et al., 2000; Zucker and Welker,Department of Neurobiology
1969). These studies demonstrated that NV neurons ex-The Weizmann Institute
hibit either rapidly (RA) or slowly (SA) adapting responsesRehovot 76100
to sustained whisker deflections, respond differently toIsrael
different directions of whisker movements, and have
different velocity sensitivities. However, during active
touch, as opposed to passive touch, the forces operatingSummary
on the mechanoreceptors in the FSC are determined
not only by the forces operating on the external shaftMammals acquire much of their sensory information
of the whisker but also by the forces exerted on the FSCby actively moving their sensory organs. Yet, the prin-
by the intrinsic muscles. The effect of these latter forcesciples of encoding by active sensing are not known.
on vibrissal encoding was not evaluated so far, as accu-Here we investigated the encoding principles of active
rate stimulus control with behaving rats is extremely dif-touch by rat whiskers (vibrissae). We induced artificial
ficult.whisking in anesthetized rats and recorded from first-
Encoding of sensory events during active touch wasorder neurons in the trigeminal ganglion. During active
previously investigated only once. In that pioneeringtouch, first-order trigeminal neurons presented a rich


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


Collections: Biology and Medicine