Short-Term Plasticity of a Thalamocortical Pathway Dynamically Modulated by Behavioral State

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Science  12 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5259, pp. 274-277
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5259.274


The neocortex receives information about the environment and the rest of the brain through pathways from the thalamus. These pathways have frequency-dependent properties that can strongly influence their effect on the neocortex. In 1943 Morison and Dempsey described “augmenting responses,” a form of short-term plasticity in some thalamocortical pathways that is triggered by 8- to 15-hertz activation. Results from anesthetized rats showed that the augmenting response is initiated by pyramidal cells in layer V. The augmenting response was also observed in awake, unrestrained animals and was found to be dynamically modulated by their behavioral state.

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