Areas in the second somatic sensory cortex (SII) of cats that responded vigorously to low-amplitude, high-frequency vibratory stimulation were mapped with respect to the surrounding soma-totopic organization. Neurons with these properties were found in the posterior and medial parts of the distal forelimb zone and were judged as receiving input from Pacinian mechanoreceptors. The responses of these neurons to sinusoidal vibrotactile stimulation were studied during iontophoretic administration of glutamate or bicuculline methiodide (BMI) to determine if the temporal fidelity of these cortical neurons was controlled by inhibitory circuits that used γaminobutyric acid (GABA) as a neurotransmitter. The data from 19 Pacinian-sensitive neurons were analyzed for changes in the mean firing rate, the percentage of entrainment, and the pattern of periodicity as revealed by autocorrelograms and interval histograms. Iontophoresis of BMI or glutamate caused significant increases in mean firing rates during low- and high-frequency vibratory stimulation. The pattern of increased activity produced by BMI was characterized by a small, yet significant, reduction in the percentage of entrainment, whereas glutamate caused smaller and fewer significant changes in this measure. Analysis of autocorrelation and interval histograms suggested that BMI increased the probability of firing on consecutive stimulus cycles in small segments of the stimulus duration.
- Somatosensory cortex
- Vibrotactile stimulation