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Two whisker motor areas in the rat cortex: Evidence from thalamocortical connections
H. Mohammed,
Published in
PMID: 23853077
Volume: 522
Issue: 3
Pages: 528 - 545
In primates, the motor cortex consists of at least seven different areas, which are involved in movement planning, coordination, initiation, and execution. However, for rats, only the primary motor cortex has been well described. A rostrally located second motor area has been proposed, but its extent, organization, and even definitive existence remain uncertain. Only a rostral forelimb area (RFA) has been definitively described, besides few reports of a rostral hindlimb area. We have previously proposed existence of a second whisker area, which we termed the rostral whisker area (RWA), based on its differential response to intracortical microstimulation compared with the caudal whisker area (CWA) in animals under deep anesthesia (Tandon et al. [2008] Eur J Neurosci 27:228). To establish that RWA is distinct from the caudally contiguous CWA, we determined sources of thalamic inputs to the two proposed whisker areas. Sources of inputs to RFA, caudal forelimb area (CFA), and caudal hindlimb region were determined for comparison. The results show that RWA and CWA can be distinguished based on differences in their thalamic inputs. RWA receives major projections from mediodorsal and ventromedial nuclei, whereas the major projections to CWA are from the ventral anterior, ventrolateral, and posterior nuclei. Moreover, the thalamic nuclei that provide major inputs to RWA are the same as for RFA, and the nuclei projecting to CWA are same as for CFA. The results suggest that rats have a second rostrally located motor area with RWA and RFA as its constituents. J. Comp. Neurol. 522:528-545, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
About the journal
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology