Using the somatosensory system as a model system, we plan to inject neuronal tracers bilaterally into rat sensorimotor cortex to test the hypothesis that bilateral corticostriatal and corticopontine overlap is greatest for projections from MI sites representing proximal body parts that are bilaterally coordinated. In cats, we will inject neuronal tracers into motor and somatosensory cortex to test the hypothesis that corticopontine projections from SI and SII enable more integration than corticostriatal projections. In the last half of this project we will record multiple neurons in somatosensory cortex simultaneously with neurons in the neostriatum and the pons. We will test the hypothesis that neostriatal neurons discharge mainly when they receive synchronous inputs from related (ie., interconnected) cortical areas in somatosensory cortex. We will also test the hypothesis that stimulus-induced neuronal responses somatosensory are more strongly correlated with responses in the pons than in the neostriatum.

Public Health Relevance

Substantial evidence indicates that the basal ganglia and pontocerebellar systems are responsible for sensorimotor integration and related cognitive processes. By using anatomical tracing methods in combination with sensory stimulation, we will elucidate the circuit mechanisms that mediate sensory processing and will gain valuable insights about the operation of these circuits for processing cognitive information. The potential clinical importance of this work is underscored by the fact that the neural circuits in the basal ganglia and pontocerebellar systems have been implicated in several neurologic disorders including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's chorea, Tourette's syndrome, and other sensorimotor problems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems Study Section (SCS)
Program Officer
Gnadt, James W
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Pennsylvania State University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Smith, Jared B; Liang, Zhifeng; Watson, Glenn D R et al. (2017) Interhemispheric resting-state functional connectivity of the claustrum in the awake and anesthetized states. Brain Struct Funct 222:2041-2058
Watson, Glenn D R; Smith, Jared B; Alloway, Kevin D (2017) Interhemispheric connections between the infralimbic and entorhinal cortices: The endopiriform nucleus has limbic connections that parallel the sensory and motor connections of the claustrum. J Comp Neurol 525:1363-1380
Watson, Glenn D R; Smith, Jared B; Alloway, Kevin D (2015) The Zona Incerta Regulates Communication between the Superior Colliculus and the Posteromedial Thalamus: Implications for Thalamic Interactions with the Dorsolateral Striatum. J Neurosci 35:9463-76
Alloway, Kevin D; Smith, Jared B; Watson, Glenn D R (2014) Thalamostriatal projections from the medial posterior and parafascicular nuclei have distinct topographic and physiologic properties. J Neurophysiol 111:36-50
Smith, Jared B; Alloway, Kevin D (2013) Rat whisker motor cortex is subdivided into sensory-input and motor-output areas. Front Neural Circuits 7:4
Smith, Jared B; Radhakrishnan, Harsha; Alloway, Kevin D (2012) Rat claustrum coordinates but does not integrate somatosensory and motor cortical information. J Neurosci 32:8583-8
Smith, Jared B; Mowery, Todd M; Alloway, Kevin D (2012) Thalamic POm projections to the dorsolateral striatum of rats: potential pathway for mediating stimulus-response associations for sensorimotor habits. J Neurophysiol 108:160-74
Mowery, Todd M; Harrold, Jon B; Alloway, Kevin D (2011) Repeated whisker stimulation evokes invariant neuronal responses in the dorsolateral striatum of anesthetized rats: a potential correlate of sensorimotor habits. J Neurophysiol 105:2225-38
Alloway, Kevin D; Smith, Jared B; Beauchemin, Kyle J (2010) Quantitative analysis of the bilateral brainstem projections from the whisker and forepaw regions in rat primary motor cortex. J Comp Neurol 518:4546-66
Smith, Jared B; Alloway, Kevin D (2010) Functional specificity of claustrum connections in the rat: interhemispheric communication between specific parts of motor cortex. J Neurosci 30:16832-44

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