Coexisting Neuronal Coding Strategies in the Barrel Cortex

Hariom Sharma, Rony Azouz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During tactile sensation by rodents, whisker movements across surfaces generate complex whisker motions, including discrete, transient stick-slip events, which carry information about surface properties. The characteristics of these events and how the brain encodes this tactile information remain enigmatic. We found that cortical neurons show a mixture of synchronized and nontemporally correlated spikes in their tactile responses. Synchronous spikes convey the magnitude of stick-slip events by numerous aspects of temporal coding. These spikes show preferential selectivity for kinetic and kinematic whisker motion. By contrast, asynchronous spikes in each neuron convey the magnitude of stick-slip events by their discharge rates, response probability, and interspike intervals. We further show that the differentiation between these two types of activity is highly dependent on the magnitude of stick-slip events and stimulus and response history. These results suggest that cortical neurons transmit multiple components of tactile information through numerous coding strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral Cortex
StatePublished - 12 Feb 2022


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