Somatosensory cortex of the neonatal pig: I. Topographic organization of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI)

J Comp Neurol. 1991 Apr 1;306(1):24-38. doi: 10.1002/cne.903060103.


The cerebral cortex of adult mammals contains several somatotopic representations of the body surface. Although the organization of the various somatosensory cortices of numerous species of adult animals has been elucidated, data on the somatosensory representations of fetal and neonatal animals are limited. As part of an investigation into the perinatal development of the somatosensory cortices, it was necessary to delineate the organization of the somatosensory cortices of the perinatal pig. This study presents the topographical organization of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) of the perinatal pig. Multiunit microelectrode mapping methods were used to produce topographic maps of SI from barbiturate anesthetized pigs ranging in age from 7 days preterm to 2 months postpartum. It was demonstrated that the overall organization of this region of cortex was similar to that of other mammals: a somatotopic projection of predominantly the contralateral body surface was delineated in which the hindlimb is represented medially and the face laterally across the cortex. A disproportionately enlarged rostrum representation was mapped in detail, and multiple representations of the rostrum, face, and mouth were found. Several of these representations exhibited bilateral and ipsilateral input. The SI trunk and hindlimb representations were located on the medial wall of the hemisphere; these representations were small but their presence refutes speculation that ungulates do not have a complete body representation in SI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Face / physiology
  • Forelimb / physiology
  • Hindlimb / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Mouth / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Swine / anatomy & histology*
  • Swine / physiology
  • Thorax / physiology