Frequency-specific coupling in fronto-parieto-occipital cortical circuits underlie active tactile discrimination

Carolina Kunicki*, Renan C. Moioli, Miguel Pais-Vieira, André Salles Cunha Peres, Edgard Morya, Miguel A. L. Nicolelis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Processing of tactile sensory information in rodents is critically dependent on the communication between the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and higher-order integrative cortical areas. Here, we have simultaneously characterized single-unit activity and local field potential (LFP) dynamics in the S1, primary visual cortex (V1), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), posterior parietal cortex (PPC), while freely moving rats performed an active tactile discrimination task. Simultaneous single unit recordings from all these cortical regions revealed statistically significant neuronal firing rate modulations during all task phases (anticipatory, discrimination, response, and reward). Meanwhile, phase analysis of pairwise LFP recordings revealed the occurrence of long-range synchronization across the sampled fronto-parieto-occipital cortical areas during tactile sampling. Causal analysis of the same pairwise recorded LFPs demonstrated the occurrence of complex dynamic interactions between cortical areas throughout the fronto-parietal-occipital loop. These interactions changed significantly between cortical regions as a function of frequencies (i.e. beta, theta and gamma) and according to the different phases of the behavioral task. Overall, these findings indicate that active tactile discrimination by rats is characterized by much more widespread and dynamic complex interactions within the fronto-parieto-occipital cortex than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5105
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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