Author(s): Jain N, Qi HX, Collins CE, Kaas JH
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Abstract Adult brains undergo large-scale plastic changes after peripheral and central injuries. Although it has been shown that both the cortical and thalamic representations can reorganize, uncertainties exist regarding the extent, nature, and time course of changes at each level. We have determined how cortical representations in the somatosensory area 3b and the ventroposterior (VP) nucleus of thalamus are affected by long standing unilateral dorsal column lesions at cervical levels in macaque monkeys. In monkeys with recovery periods of 22-23 months, the intact face inputs expanded into the deafferented hand region of area 3b after complete or partial lesions of the dorsal columns. The expansion of the face region could extend all the way medially into the leg and foot representations. In the same monkeys, similar expansions of the face representation take place in the VP nucleus of the thalamus, indicating that both these processing levels undergo similar reorganizations. The receptive fields of the expanded representations were similar in somatosensory cortex and thalamus. In two monkeys, we determined the extent of the brain reorganization immediately after dorsal column lesions. In these monkeys, the deafferented regions of area 3b and the VP nucleus became unresponsive to the peripheral touch immediately after the lesion. No reorganization was seen in the cortex or the VP nucleus. A comparison of the extents of deafferentation across the monkeys shows that even if the dorsal column lesion is partial, preserving most of the hand representation, it is sufficient to induce an expansion of the face representation.
This article was published in J Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy