Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 25934471
Neuroimage 2015 Jul;115:52-63
The rodent whisker system is a preferred model for studying plasticity in the somatosensory cortex (barrel cortex). Contrarily, only a small amount of research has been conducted to characterize the stability of neuronal population activity in the barrel cortex. We used the mouse whisker system to address the neuronal basis of stable perception in the somatosensory cortex. Cortical representation of periodic whisker deflections was studied in populations of neurons in supragranular layers over extended time periods (up to 3 months) with long-term two-photon Ca(2+) imaging in anesthetized mice. We found that in most of the neurons (87%), Ca(2+) responses increased sublinearly with increasing number of contralateral whisker deflections. The imaged population of neurons was activated in a stereotypic way over days and for different deflection rates (pulse frequencies). Thus, pulse frequencies are coded by response strength rather than by distinct neuronal sub-populations. A small population of highly responsive neurons (~3%) was sufficient to decode the whisker stimulus. This conserved functional map, led by a small set of highly responsive neurons, might form the foundation of stable sensory percepts.