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Tauste Campo, Adria; Vazquez, Yuriria; Alvarez, Manuel; Zainos, Antonio; Rossi-Pool, Roman; Deco, Gustavo; Romo, Ranulfo (2019)

FEED-FORWARD INFORMATION AND ZERO-LAG SYNCHRONIZATION IN THE SENSORY THALAMOCORTICAL CIRCUIT ARE MODULATED DURING STIMULUS PERCEPTION

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 116(15):7513-7522
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The direction of functional information flow in the sensory thalamocortical circuit may play a role in stimulus perception, but, surprisingly, this process is poorly understood. We addressed this problem by evaluating a directional information measure between simultaneously recorded neurons from somatosensory thalamus (ventral posterolateral nucleus, VPL) and somatosensory cortex (S1) sharing the same cutaneous receptive field while monkeys judged the presence or absence of a tactile stimulus. During stimulus presence, feed-forward information (VPL → S1) increased as a function of the stimulus amplitude, while pure feed-back information (S1 → VPL) was unaffected. In parallel, zero-lag interaction emerged with increasing stimulus amplitude, reflecting externally driven thalamocortical synchronization during stimulus processing. Furthermore, VPL → S1 information decreased during error trials. Also, VPL → S1 and zero-lag interaction decreased when monkeys were not required to report the stimulus presence. These findings provide evidence that both the direction of information flow and the instant synchronization in the sensory thalamocortical circuit play a role in stimulus perception.