FG 1346/1: “Barrel Cortex Function“: “Cellular and Synaptic Analysis of Rodent Social Facial Touch“ (SP 09)

The exquisite topographic representation of the whiskers in the barrel cortex and the fact that whiskers can be easily accessed for manipulation or stimulation has greatly contributed to the success of this model system. The quantitatively controlled tactile stimulation of single whiskers in anesthetized animals provided a high-resolution picture of physiology of the whisker system that is unmatched in any other mammalian sensory system. Nevertheless we are still ignorant about how the whisker-to-barrel system processes complex biologically meaningful stimuli. This theme – the processing of complex biologically meaningful stimuli – will be pursued in this project. Specifically we will investigate the neural representation of social facial touch in the rodent barrel cortex. This project consists of four work packages and will build on our previous work on social facial touch and the development for recording techniques in awake, behaving animals. In work package 1 we will analyze neural responses to passive social touch (being touched) in anesthetized animals. In work package 2 we will establish and validate a head-fixed preparation for analyzing intracellular responses in barrel cortex during social touch. In work package 3 we will apply the techniques established in WP2 to characterize the neural representation of social facial touch in the rat barrel cortex. In work package 4 we will prepare to extend the work in head-fixed animals to freely interacting/moving animals. Our project will elucidate the cellular basis of social touch and will for the first time provide insight into the processing of complex stimuli in the barrel cortex.

Principal Investigators
Brecht, Michael Prof. Dr. (Details) (Animal Physiology/Systems Neurobiology and Neural Computation)

Duration of Project
Start date: 02/2013
End date: 01/2016

Last updated on 2020-22-11 at 19:31