Single unit and correlated neural activity observed in the cat motor cortex during a reaching movement

David Putrino

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] The goal of this research was to investigate some of the ways that neurons located in the primary motor cortex (MI) code for skilled movement. The task-related and temporally correlated spike activity that occurred during the performance of a goal-directed reaching and retrieval task invloving multiple motion elements and limbs was evaluated in cats. The contributions made by different neuronal subtypes loctaed in MI (which were identified based upon extracellular spiking features0 to the coding of movement was also investigated. Spike activity was simulateously recorded from microelectrodes that were chronically implanted into the motor cortex of both cerebral hemispheres. Task-related neurons modulated their activity during the reaching and retrieval movements of one forelimb, or the postural reactions of the contralateral forelimb and ipsilateral hindlimb. Spike durations and baseline firing rates of neurons were used to distinguish between putative excitatory (Regular Spiking; RS) and inhibitory (Fast Spiking; FS) neurons in the cortex. Frame by frame video analysis of the task was used to subdivide each task trial into stages (e.g. premovement, reach, withdraw and feed) and relate modulations in neural activity to the individual task stages. Task-related neurons were classified as either narrowly tuned or broadly tuned depending on whether their activity modulated during a single task stage or more than one stage respectively. Recordings were made from 163 task-related neurons, and temporal correlations in the spike activity of simultaneously recorded neurons were identified using shuffle corrected cross-correlograms on 662 different neuronal pairs.... The results of this research suggest that temporally correlated activity may reflect the activation of intracortical and callosal connections between a variety of efferent zones involved in task performance, playing a role in the coordination of muscles and limbs during motor tasks. The differences in the patterns of task-related activity, and in the incidence of significant neuronal interactions that were observed between the RS and FS neuronal populations implies that they make different contributions to the coding of movement in MI.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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