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      Higher-order thalamic relays burst more than first-order relays.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Animals, Behavior, Animal, physiology, Brain Mapping, Macaca, Neural Pathways, Neurons, Photic Stimulation, Thalamic Nuclei, Vision, Ocular

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          Abstract

          There is a strong correlation between the behavior of an animal and the firing mode (burst or tonic) of thalamic relay neurons. Certain differences between first- and higher-order thalamic relays (which relay peripheral information to the cortex versus information from one cortical area to another, respectively) suggest that more bursting might occur in the higher-order relays. Accordingly, we recorded bursting behavior in single cells from awake, behaving rhesus monkeys in first-order (the lateral geniculate nucleus, the ventral posterior nucleus, and the ventral portion of the medial geniculate nucleus) and higher-order (pulvinar and the medial dorsal nucleus) thalamic relays. We found that the extent of bursting was dramatically greater in the higher-order than in the first-order relays, and this increased bursting correlated with lower spontaneous activity in the higher-order relays. If bursting effectively signals the introduction of new information to a cortical area, as suggested, this increased bursting may be more important in corticocortical transmission than in transmission of primary information to cortex.

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          Journal
          16099832
          1189315
          10.1073/pnas.0502843102

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