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Layer- and cell-type-specific differences in neural activity in mouse barrel cortex during a whisker detection task

  • To address the question which neocortical layers and cell types are important for the perception of a sensory stimulus, we performed multielectrode recordings in the barrel cortex of head-fixed mice performing a single-whisker go/no-go detection task with vibrotactile stimuli of differing intensities. We found that behavioral detection probability decreased gradually over the course of each session, which was well explained by a signal detection theory-based model that posits stable psychometric sensitivity and a variable decision criterion updated after each reinforcement, reflecting decreasing motivation. Analysis of multiunit activity demonstrated highest neurometric sensitivity in layer 4, which was achieved within only 30 ms after stimulus onset. At the level of single neurons, we observed substantial heterogeneity of neurometric sensitivity within and across layers, ranging from nonresponsiveness to approaching or even exceeding psychometric sensitivity. In all cortical layers, putative inhibitory interneurons on average proffered higher neurometric sensitivity than putative excitatory neurons. In infragranular layers, neurons increasing firing rate in response to stimulation featured higher sensitivities than neurons decreasing firing rate. Offline machine-learning-based analysis of videos of behavioral sessions showed that mice performed better when not moving, which at the neuronal level, was reflected by increased stimulus-evoked firing rates.

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Author:Jens Vandevelde, Jenq-Wei Yang, Steffen Albrecht, Henry Lam, Paul Kaufmann, Heiko Luhmann, Maik Stüttgen
Parent Title (English):Cerebral Cortex
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/01/29
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen Bocholt Recklinghausen
Release Date:2024/01/29
Tag:barrel cortex, cell types, multielectrode recordings, perception, psychophysics
First Page:1361
Last Page:1382
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das Urheberrechtsgesetz

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