Multisite optical recording has revealed that the neural excitation wave induced by a sensory stimulation begins at a focus and propagates in the cortex. This wave is considered to be important for computation in the sensory cortex, particularly the integration of sensory information; however, the nature of this wave remains largely unknown. In the present study, we examined the interaction between two waves in the rat sensory cortex induced by hindlimb and forelimb stimuli with different interstimulus intervals. We classified the resultant patterns as follows: 1) the collision of two waves, 2) the hindlimb response being evoked while the forelimb-induced wave is passing the hindlimb focus, and 3) the hindlimb response being evoked after the forelimb-induced wave has passed the hindlimb focus. In pattern 1, the two waves fused into a single wave, but the propagation pattern differed from that predicted by the superimposition of two singly induced propagation courses. In pattern 2, the state of the interaction between the two waves varied depending on the phase of optical signals constituting the forelimb-induced wave around the hindlimb focus. Although no hindlimb-induced wave was observed in the rising phase, the propagating velocity of the forelimb-induced wave increased. At the peak, neither the hindlimb-induced response nor a modulatory effect on the forelimb-induced wave was detected. In pattern 3, the hindlimb-induced wave showed a reduced amplitude and spatial extent. These results indicate that the state of the interaction between waves was strongly influenced by the relative timing of sensory inputs. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Sensory stimulation-induced cortical excitation propagates as a wave and spreads over a wide area of the sensory cortex. To elucidate the characteristics of this relatively unknown phenomenon, we examined the interaction between two individually induced waves in the somatosensory cortex. Either the waves collided or the preceding wave affected the emergence of the following one. Our results indicate that the state of the interaction was strongly influenced by the relative timing of sensory inputs.
Pubmed ID: 29442560 RIS Download
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