Stroke induces long-lasting deficits in the temporal fidelity of sensory processing in the somatosensory cortex.
ABSTRACT: Recovery from stroke is rarely complete as humans and experimental animals typically show lingering deficits in sensory function. One explanation for limited recovery could be that rewired cortical networks do not process sensory stimuli with the same temporal precision as they normally would. To examine how well peri-infarct and more distant cortical networks process successive vibro-tactile stimulations of the affected forepaw (a measure of temporal fidelity), we imaged cortical depolarizations with millisecond temporal resolution using voltage-sensitive dyes. In control mice, paired forepaw stimulations (ranging from 50 to 200 milliseconds apart) induced temporally distinct depolarizations in primary forelimb somatosensory (FLS1) cortex, and to a lesser extent in secondary FLS (FLS2) cortex. For mice imaged 3 months after stroke, the first forepaw stimulus reliably evoked a strong depolarization in the surviving region of FLS1 and FLS2 cortex. However, depolarizations to subsequent forepaw stimuli were significantly reduced or completely absent (for stimuli ?100 milliseconds apart) in the FLS1 cortex, whereas FLS2 responses were relatively unaffected. Our data reveal that stroke induces long-lasting impairments in how well the rewired FLS1 cortex processes temporal aspects of sensory stimuli. Future therapies directed at enhancing the temporal fidelity of cortical circuits may be necessary for achieving full recovery of sensory functions.
Project description:The restitution of damaged circuitry and functional remodeling of peri-injured areas constitute two main mechanisms for sustaining recovery of the brain after stroke. In this study, a silk fibroin-based biomaterial efficiently supports the survival of intracerebrally implanted mesenchymal stem cells (mSCs) and increases functional outcomes over time in a model of cortical stroke that affects the forepaw sensory and motor representations. We show that the functional mechanisms underlying recovery are related to a substantial preservation of cortical tissue in the first days after mSCs-polymer implantation, followed by delayed cortical plasticity that involved a progressive functional disconnection between the forepaw sensory (FLs1) and caudal motor (cFLm1) representations and an emergent sensory activity in peri-lesional areas belonging to cFLm1. Our results provide evidence that mSCs integrated into silk fibroin hydrogels attenuate the cerebral damage after brain infarction inducing a delayed cortical plasticity in the peri-lesional tissue, this later a functional change described during spontaneous or training rehabilitation-induced recovery. This study shows that brain remapping and sustained recovery were experimentally favored using a stem cell-biomaterial-based approach.
Project description:The synchronized activity of six layers of cortical neurons is critical for sensory perception and the control of voluntary behavior, but little is known about the synaptic mechanisms of cortical synchrony across layers in behaving animals. We made single and dual whole-cell recordings from the primary somatosensory forepaw cortex in awake mice and show that L2/3 and L5 excitatory neurons have layer-specific intrinsic properties and membrane potential dynamics that shape laminar-specific firing rates and subthreshold synchrony. First, while sensory and movement-evoked synaptic input was tightly correlated across layers, spontaneous action potentials and slow spontaneous subthreshold fluctuations had laminar-specific timing; second, longer duration forepaw movement was associated with a decorrelation of subthreshold activity; third, spontaneous and sensory-evoked forepaw movements were signaled more strongly by L5 than L2/3 neurons. Together, our data suggest that the degree of translaminar synchrony is dependent upon the origin (sensory, spontaneous, and movement) of the synaptic input.
Project description:In the premature infant, somatosensory and visual stimuli trigger an immature electroencephalographic (EEG) pattern, "delta-brushes," in the corresponding sensory cortical areas. Whether auditory stimuli evoke delta-brushes in the premature auditory cortex has not been reported. Here, responses to auditory stimuli were studied in 46 premature infants without neurologic risk aged 31 to 38 postmenstrual weeks (PMW) during routine EEG recording. Stimuli consisted of either low-volume technogenic "clicks" near the background noise level of the neonatal care unit, or a human voice at conversational sound level. Stimuli were administrated pseudo-randomly during quiet and active sleep. In another protocol, the cortical response to a composite stimulus ("click" and voice) was manually triggered during EEG hypoactive periods of quiet sleep. Cortical responses were analyzed by event detection, power frequency analysis and stimulus locked averaging. Before 34 PMW, both voice and "click" stimuli evoked cortical responses with similar frequency-power topographic characteristics, namely a temporal negative slow-wave and rapid oscillations similar to spontaneous delta-brushes. Responses to composite stimuli also showed a maximal frequency-power increase in temporal areas before 35 PMW. From 34 PMW the topography of responses in quiet sleep was different for "click" and voice stimuli: responses to "clicks" became diffuse but responses to voice remained limited to temporal areas. After the age of 35 PMW auditory evoked delta-brushes progressively disappeared and were replaced by a low amplitude response in the same location. Our data show that auditory stimuli mimicking ambient sounds efficiently evoke delta-brushes in temporal areas in the premature infant before 35 PMW. Along with findings in other sensory modalities (visual and somatosensory), these findings suggest that sensory driven delta-brushes represent a ubiquitous feature of the human sensory cortex during fetal stages and provide a potential test of functional cortical maturation during fetal development.
Project description:Neuronal responses to sensory stimuli are not only driven by feedforward sensory pathways but also depend upon intrinsic factors (collectively known as the network state) that include ongoing spontaneous activity and neuromodulation. To understand how these factors together regulate cortical dynamics, we recorded simultaneously spontaneous and somatosensory-evoked multiunit activity from primary somatosensory cortex and from the locus coeruleus (LC) (the neuromodulatory nucleus releasing norepinephrine) in urethane-anesthetized rats. We found that bursts of ipsilateral-LC firing preceded by few tens of milliseconds increases of cortical excitability, and that the 1- to 10-Hz rhythmicity of LC discharge appeared to increase the power of delta-band (1-4 Hz) cortical synchronization. To investigate quantitatively how LC firing might causally influence spontaneous and stimulus-driven cortical dynamics, we then constructed and fitted to these data a model describing the dynamical interaction of stimulus drive, ongoing synchronized cortical activity, and noradrenergic neuromodulation. The model proposes a coupling between LC and cortex that can amplify delta-range cortical fluctuations, and shows how suitably timed phasic LC bursts can lead to enhanced cortical responses to weaker stimuli and increased temporal precision of cortical stimulus-evoked responses. Thus, the temporal structure of noradrenergic modulation may selectively and dynamically enhance or attenuate cortical responses to stimuli. Finally, using the model prediction of single-trial cortical stimulus-evoked responses to discount single-trial state-dependent variability increased by ∼70% the sensory information extracted from cortical responses. This suggests that downstream circuits may extract information more effectively after estimating the state of the circuit transmitting the sensory message.
Project description:Recordings of local field potentials (LFPs) reveal that the sensory cortex displays rhythmic activity and fluctuations over a wide range of frequencies and amplitudes. Yet, the role of this kind of activity in encoding sensory information remains largely unknown. To understand the rules of translation between the structure of sensory stimuli and the fluctuations of cortical responses, we simulated a sparsely connected network of excitatory and inhibitory neurons modeling a local cortical population, and we determined how the LFPs generated by the network encode information about input stimuli. We first considered simple static and periodic stimuli and then naturalistic input stimuli based on electrophysiological recordings from the thalamus of anesthetized monkeys watching natural movie scenes. We found that the simulated network produced stimulus-related LFP changes that were in striking agreement with the LFPs obtained from the primary visual cortex. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the network encoded static input spike rates into gamma-range oscillations generated by inhibitory-excitatory neural interactions and encoded slow dynamic features of the input into slow LFP fluctuations mediated by stimulus-neural interactions. The model cortical network processed dynamic stimuli with naturalistic temporal structure by using low and high response frequencies as independent communication channels, again in agreement with recent reports from visual cortex responses to naturalistic movies. One potential function of this frequency decomposition into independent information channels operated by the cortical network may be that of enhancing the capacity of the cortical column to encode our complex sensory environment.
Project description:Sensorimotor activity has been shown to play a key role in functional outcome after extensive brain damage. This study was aimed at assessing the influence of sensorimotor experience through subject-environment interactions on the time course of both lesion and gliosis volumes as well as on the recovery of forelimb sensorimotor abilities following focal cortical injury. The lesion consisted of a cortical compression targeting the forepaw representational area within the primary somatosensory cortex of adult rats. After the cortical lesion, rats were randomly subjected to various postlesion conditions: unilateral C5-C6 dorsal root transection depriving the contralateral cortex from forepaw somatosensory inputs, standard housing or an enriched environment promoting sensorimotor experience and social interactions. Behavioral tests were used to assess forelimb placement during locomotion, forelimb-use asymmetry, and forepaw tactile sensitivity. For each group, the time course of tissue loss was described and the gliosis volume over the first postoperative month was evaluated using an unbiased stereological method. Consistent with previous studies, recovery of behavioral abilities was found to depend on post-injury experience. Indeed, increased sensorimotor activity initiated early in an enriched environment induced a rapid and more complete behavioral recovery compared with standard housing. In contrast, severe deprivation of peripheral sensory inputs led to a delayed and only partial sensorimotor recovery. The dorsal rhizotomy was found to increase the perilesional gliosis in comparison to standard or enriched environments. These findings provide further evidence that early sensory experience has a beneficial influence on the onset and time course of functional recovery after focal brain injury.
Project description:The rodent primary somatosensory cortex is spontaneously active in the form of locally synchronous membrane depolarizations (UP states) separated by quiescent hyperpolarized periods (DOWN states) both under anesthesia and during quiet wakefulness. In vivo whole-cell recordings and tetrode unit recordings were combined with voltage-sensitive dye imaging to analyze the relationship of the activity of individual pyramidal neurons in layer 2/3 to the ensemble spatiotemporal dynamics of the spontaneous depolarizations. These were either brief and localized to an area of a barrel column or occurred as propagating waves dependent on local glutamatergic synaptic transmission in layer 2/3. Spontaneous activity inhibited the sensory responses evoked by whisker deflection, accounting almost entirely for the large trial-to-trial variability of sensory-evoked postsynaptic potentials and action potentials. Subthreshold sensory synaptic responses evoked while a cortical area was spontaneously depolarized were smaller, briefer and spatially more confined. Surprisingly, whisker deflections evoked fewer action potentials during the spontaneous depolarizations despite neurons being closer to threshold. The ongoing spontaneous activity thus regulates the amplitude and the time-dependent spread of the sensory response in layer 2/3 barrel cortex.
Project description:During flexible behavior, multiple brain regions encode sensory inputs, the current task, and choices. It remains unclear how these signals evolve. We simultaneously recorded neuronal activity from six cortical regions [middle temporal area (MT), visual area four (V4), inferior temporal cortex (IT), lateral intraparietal area (LIP), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and frontal eye fields (FEF)] of monkeys reporting the color or motion of stimuli. After a transient bottom-up sweep, there was a top-down flow of sustained task information from frontoparietal to visual cortex. Sensory information flowed from visual to parietal and prefrontal cortex. Choice signals developed simultaneously in frontoparietal regions and travelled to FEF and sensory cortex. This suggests that flexible sensorimotor choices emerge in a frontoparietal network from the integration of opposite flows of sensory and task information.
Project description:Medically unexplained symptoms in depression are common. These individual-specific complaints are often considered an 'idiom of distress', yet animal studies suggest that cortical sensory representations are flexible and influenced by spontaneous cortical activity. We hypothesized that stress would reveal activity dynamics in somatosensory cortex resulting in greater sensory-evoked response variability. Using millisecond resolution in vivo voltage sensitive dye (VSD) imaging in mouse neocortex, we characterized spontaneous regional depolarizations within limb and barrel regions of somatosensory cortex, or spontaneous sensory motifs, and their influence on sensory variability. Stress revealed an idiosyncratic increase in spontaneous sensory motifs that is normalized by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment. Spontaneous motif frequency is associated with increased variability in sensory-evoked responses, and we optogenetically demonstrate that regional depolarization in somatosensory cortex increases sensory-evoked variability for seconds. This reveals a putative circuit level target for changes in sensory processing and for unexplained physical complaints in stress-related psychopathology.
Project description:Simple cells in primary visual cortex exhibit contrast-invariant orientation tuning, in seeming contradiction to feed-forward models that rely on lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) input alone. Contrast invariance has therefore been thought to depend on the presence of intracortical lateral inhibition. In vivo intracellular recordings instead suggest that contrast invariance can be explained by three properties of the excitatory pathway. (1) Depolarizations evoked by orthogonal stimuli are determined by the amount of excitation a cell receives from the LGN, relative to the excitation it receives from other cortical cells. (2) Depolarizations evoked by preferred stimuli saturate at lower contrasts than the spike output of LGN relay cells. (3) Visual stimuli evoke contrast-dependent changes in trial-to-trial variability, which lead to contrast-dependent changes in the relationship between membrane potential and spike rate. Thus, high-contrast, orthogonally oriented stimuli that evoke significant depolarizations evoke few spikes. Together these mechanisms, without lateral inhibition, can account for contrast-invariant stimulus selectivity.