The vibrissa-barrel system of rodents has become one of the dominant models for studying sensory information processing. Fast oscillations (>200 Hz) have been shown to play an important role in cortical integration of inputs from several whiskers. The mechanism subserving such integration remains, however, unknown. To address this issue, we examined the influence of the gap junction blocker (carbenoxolone, CBX) topically applied on the cortical surface on the high frequency component evoked by multiple-whisker stimulation. The magnitude of the fast oscillatory response to simultaneous stimulation of three whiskers was shown to be higher compared to its linear prediction (defined as the sum of corresponding single whisker responses). Application of CBX eliminated this supra-linear enhancement of fast oscillations. These results indicate that gap junctions are involved in the synchronization of cortical high frequency oscillations and integration of multiple whisker responses.
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