Tactile activity in primate primary somatosensory cortex during active arm movements: cytoarchitectonic distribution

J Neurophysiol. 1994 Jan;71(1):173-81. doi: 10.1152/jn.1994.71.1.173.


1. Cells were recorded in areas 3b and 1 of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) of three monkeys during active arm movements. Successful reconstructions were made of 46 microelectrode penetrations, and 298 cells with tactile receptive fields (RFs) were located as to cytoarchitectonic area, lamina, or both. 2. Area 3b contained a greater proportion of cells with slowly adapting responses to tactile stimuli and fewer cells with deep modality inputs than did area 1. Area 3b also showed a greater level of movement-related modulation in tactile activity than area 1. Other cell properties were equally distributed in the two areas. 3. The distribution of cells with low-threshold tactile RFs that also responded to lateral stretch of the skin or to passive arm movements was skewed toward deeper laminae than for tactile cells that did not respond to those manipulations. 4. The variation of activity of tactile neurons during arm movements in different directions was weaker in the superficial laminae than in deeper cortical laminae. 5. Cells with only increases in activity during arm movements were preferentially but not exclusively located in middle and superficial layers. Cells with reciprocal responses were found mainly in laminae III and V, whereas cells with only decreases in activity were concentrated in lamina V. 6. Overall, active arm movements evoke directionally tuned tactile and "deep" activity in areas 3b and 1, in particular in the deeper cortical laminae that are the source of the descending output pathways from SI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arm / physiology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Skin / innervation
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*