Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Studies of the rodent whisker system indicate that somatosensory cortical circuitry operates at a millisecond timescale to transform sensory afferent signals from the thalamus. We measured axon conduction times and whisker-evoked responses of 48 thalamocortical (TC) neurons in the rat whisker-to-barrel pathway. Conduction times were derived from spike-triggered averages of local field potentials evoked in layer 4 cortical whisker-related barrels by the spontaneous firing of individual topographically aligned neurons in the ventral posterior medial thalamus. Conduction times varied fourfold, from 0.31 to 1.34 ms, and faster conducting TC neurons responded earlier and more robustly to controlled whisker deflections. Early arrival of highly responsive TC inputs, thought to contact inhibitory barrel neurons preferentially, could prime the cortical network, rendering it more selective for later-arriving signals.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurophysiol

Publication Date





2842 - 2847


Action Potentials, Animals, Efferent Pathways, Neural Conduction, Physical Stimulation, Probability, Rats, Reaction Time, Somatosensory Cortex, Thalamus, Vibrissae