Modular distribution of neurons with slowly adapting and rapidly adapting responses in area 3b of somatosensory cortex in monkeys Article (Web of Science)


  • Recordings from the representations of the glabrous digits in area 3b of the somatosensory cortex of owl and macaque monkeys revealed two types of neurons. Rapidly adapting (RA) neurons responded only at the onset and offset of a 1-s skin indentation. Slowly adapting (SA) neurons also responded to stimulus onset and offset but, in addition, they responded throughout the 1-s skin indentation. RA neurons were found in all cortical layers while SA neurons were found only in the middle cortical layers. In electrode penetrations perpendicular to the layers, some penetrations encountered only RA neurons (RA penetrations), while other penetrations first encountered RA neurons, then SA neurons, and finally RA neurons again (SA penetrations). When closely spaced electrode penetrations were made throughout the representation of a single digit, it was apparent that RA and SA penetrations were not randomly distributed. The distribution suggested the existence of separate clusters or bands of SA and RA neurons in the middle layers of cortex. The predominant orientation of the SA and RA regions was rostrocaudally along the lengths of the digit representations. The SA and RA bands varied in width, had no systematic position in the representation of individual digits, and often crossed from the representation of one digit to another. Because of overlapping receptive fields for neurons in adjoining bands, the SA and RA bands appeared to represent the digits separately. This would allow all skin surfaces for each digit to be subserved by both types of neurons.


publication date

  • 1984

published in

number of pages

  • 20

start page

  • 724

end page

  • 744


  • 51


  • 4