Plasticity and the Somatosensory Thalamus
The ventral posterior nuclei of the thalamus are one of the more inaccessible parts of the somatosensory system. Deep in the brain, they contain compact representations of the body surface and yet they are under strong regulatory forces of afferent inhibition, the somatosensory cortex and the closely associated reticular nucleus of the thalamus (Jones 1986). Only in very recent years have we begun to understand the functional and microstructural organization of the major inputs to this area. Consequently, it is not surprising that few studies that purport to have shown alterations of connections within the somatosensory divisions of the thalamus stand the scrutiny of more recently acquired knowledge of its organization in normal animals. Nevertheless a substantial number of workers have documented physiological and anatomical alterations within the thalamus that suggest that connectivity within this structure might be no more stable than it is at other levels of the somatosensory system.
KeywordsReceptive Field Medial Lemniscus Dorsal Column Nucleus Cutaneous Input Thalamocortical Neuron
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