Large-Scale Sprouting of Cortical Connections After Peripheral Injury in Adult Macaque Monkeys

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Science  06 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5391, pp. 1117-1121
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5391.1117

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Distributions of thalamic and cortical connections were investigated in four macaque monkeys with long-standing, accidental trauma to a forelimb, to determine whether the growth of new connections plays a role in the reorganization of somatosensory cortex that occurs after major alterations in peripheral somatosensory inputs. In each monkey, microelectrode recordings of cortical areas 3b and 1 demonstrated massive reorganizations of the cortex related to the affected limb. Injections of tracers in area 1 of these monkeys revealed normal patterns of thalamocortical connections, but markedly expanded lateral connections in areas 3b and 1. Thus, the growth of intracortical but not thalamocortical connections could account for much of the reorganization of the sensory maps in cortex.

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