Localization of responses in the somatosensory thalamus of the rat

E. C. Cropper, J. S. Eisenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In the monkey and cat electrophysiological studies have indicated that unit response characteristics can be correlated with anatomical divisions in the somatosensory thalamus. In the rat, however, one study has suggested that the ventrobasal (VB) and posterior (PO) complexes are not functionally distinct [7]. In the present study, therefore, an attempt was made to correlate anatomical localization and unit response characteristics in the rat. We found that in the VB complex, units responding to light touch (LT) were more common than in the PO complex (45% vs. 9%), while in the PO complex, nociceptive units were more numerous than in the VB complex (55% vs. 38%). In the VB complex LT units had a somatotopic organization; in the PO complex they did not. Within the VB complex all LT units in the ventral posteromedial nucleus had receptive fields on the head; most ventral posterolateral nucleus LT units had receptive fields on the body. These results indicate that a correlation between unit response characteristics and localization does exist in the rat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986


  • Microelectrode recording
  • Posterior complex
  • Rat
  • Somatosensory responses
  • Thalamus
  • Ventrobasal complex


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