The neocortex is subdivided into areas of anatomical and functional specialization. But little is known about the specialization of neural activities among different neocortical areas. Neural activity in neocortex often becomes synchronous and oscillatory in relation to specific normal and abnormal behavioral states. Our recent work has revealed that the motor cortex contains a unique excitatory network that during a variety of conditions generates synchronous oscillatory activity in the alpha frequency 7-14 Hz range (~10 Hz oscillations). Moreover, this network is further suppressed in the adjacent somatosensory cortex, which does not generate these oscillations unless specific outward currents are blocked. The goal of this research project is to reveal the substrate responsible for the alpha resonance of neocortex, and to characterize its functional role during behavior. There are three specific aims: 1) To characterize ~10 Hz oscillations unmasked in somatosensory cortex by K+ channel blockers;2) To determine the mechanisms that are unmasked to generate ~10 Hz oscillations in motor and somatosensory cortex;3) To characterize rhythmic activity in motor and somatosensory cortex in behaving animals. We will employ a variety of methods using slices in vitro and behaving animals in vivo. The proposed experiments will reveal many aspects of the synaptic, cellular and network organization of the motor and somatosensory cortices. This information will be relevant to understanding the neural substrate underlying abnormal neural activities that produce tremor, cortical myoclonus and Jacksonian- type seizures. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVACE These studies are directed at deciphering the neural substrate responsible for tremor, myoclonus and Jacksonian-type seizures, which are common symptoms of many neurological disorders.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-F (02))
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Gnadt, James W
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Drexel University
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2013) The motor cortex: a network tuned to 7-14 Hz. Front Neural Circuits 7:21
Favero, Morgana; Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2013) Synaptic cooperativity regulates persistent network activity in neocortex. J Neurosci 33:3151-63
Hirata, Akio; Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2011) Effects of cortical activation on sensory responses in barrel cortex. J Neurophysiol 105:1495-505
Rigas, Pavlos; Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2009) Impact of persistent cortical activity (up States) on intracortical and thalamocortical synaptic inputs. J Neurophysiol 102:119-31
Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A; Rigas, Pavlos; Tawara-Hirata, Yoshie (2007) Resonance (approximately 10 Hz) of excitatory networks in motor cortex: effects of voltage-dependent ion channel blockers. J Physiol 578:173-91
Rigas, Pavlos; Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2007) Thalamocortical Up states: differential effects of intrinsic and extrinsic cortical inputs on persistent activity. J Neurosci 27:4261-72
Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A; Tawara-Hirata, Yoshie (2007) Area-specific resonance of excitatory networks in neocortex: control by outward currents. Epilepsia 48:1572-84
Castro-Alamancos, Manuel A (2006) Vibrissa myoclonus (rhythmic retractions) driven by resonance of excitatory networks in motor cortex. J Neurophysiol 96:1691-8