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Stimulus dependence of barrel cortex directional selectivity

AutorPuccini, Gabriel D.; Compte, Albert; Maravall, Miguel
Fecha de publicación27-dic-2006
EditorPublic Library of Science
CitaciónPLoS ONE 1(1): e137 (2006)
ResumenNeurons throughout the rat vibrissa somatosensory pathway are sensitive to the angular direction of whisker movement. Could this sensitivity help rats discriminate stimuli? Here we use a simple computational model of cortical neurons to analyze the robustness of directional selectivity. In the model, directional preference emerges from tuning of synaptic conductance amplitude and latency, as in recent experimental findings. We find that directional selectivity during stimulation with random deflection sequences is strongly dependent on the mean deflection frequency: Selectivity is weakened at high frequencies even when each individual deflection evokes strong directional tuning. This variability of directional selectivity is due to generic properties of synaptic integration by the neuronal membrane, and is therefore likely to hold under very general physiological conditions. Our results suggest that directional selectivity depends on stimulus context. It may participate in tasks involving brief whisker contact, such as detection of object position, but is likely to be weakened in tasks involving sustained whisker exploration (e.g., texture discrimination).
Descripción6 pages, 3 figures.-- PMID: 17205141 [PubMed].-- PMCID: PMC1762391.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000137
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