The activity of high-frequency vibratory sensitive (HFVS) neurons was recorded in monkey primary somatosensory cortex (SI) while animals performed wrist flexions and extensions in response to 57-Hz or 127-Hz palmar vibration. HFVS neurons were distinguished by their exquisite responsiveness to the higher frequency vibration (127 Hz). These neurons probably received input from Pacinian afferents. Systematic selection of HFVS neurons was made using K-means cluster analysis of neuronal firing rates during stimulating at 127 Hz and 57 Hz. HFVS neurons constituted ~4% of all recorded cells and more frequently were found in areas 3b, 1, and 2 (~5% of total in each area) than in area 3a (~1%). Using circular-statistics analyses for nonuniformity of discharges over the vibratory cycle, HFVS neurons were split into two groups of vibration-entrained neurons (E1 and E2 neurons) and one group of nonentrained neurons (NE neurons). E1 neurons were entrained to vibration at both 127 Hz and 57 Hz, whereas E2 neurons were entrained only at one of these vibratory frequencies. Vibration-entrained neurons often exhibited multimodal distributions of interspike intervals (ISIs), with the modes at multiples of the period of vibration. In addition, for these neurons, ISI clusters in joint interval plots commonly had diagonal orientations that were indicative of negative serial correlations of the ISIs, a feature of extrinsically driven rhythmic activity. HFVS neurons located in areas 3a, 3b, and 1 responded to vibration onset at shorter latencies (16.5 ± 1.6, 19.8 ± 5.9, and 21.4 ± 6.4 ms, respectively, during 127-Hz stimulation) than those located in area 2 (35.6 ± 13.8 ms). These observations are consistent with a scheme in which HFVS area 2 neurons receive their inputs from more anterior areas of SI. Moreover, entrained neurons exhibited shorter response latencies than nonentrained neurons. During 127-Hz stimulation, response latencies were 17.3 ± 3.0, 17.5 ± 2.6, and 25.7 ± 6.4 ms for E1, E2, and NE neurons, respectively, located in areas 3a, 3b, and 1. Thus, entrained and nonentrained HFVS neurons may belong to different hierarchical stages of information processing.
- High-frequency vibrotactile stimulation
- Pacinian afferent
- Somatosensory cortex
- Stimulus-entrained activity