Sub-area-specific Suppressive Interaction in the BOLD responses to simultaneous finger stimulation in human primary somatosensory cortex: evidence for increasing rostral-to-caudal convergence

Research Area: Research Year: 2006
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Ruben, J; Krause, T; Taskin, B; Blankenburg, F; Moosmann, Matthias; Villringer, A
In the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) of non-human primates, receptive field properties have been shown to differ between its sub-areas with increasing convergence in areas 1 and 2 as compared with area 3b. In this study, we searched for a similar functional organization of human SI. We performed fMRI in healthy subjects during separate or simultaneous electrical stimulation of the second and third finger of the right hand. Activation patterns in response to stimulation of single fingers reflected the somatotopical arrangement within the hand area of SI. Somatotopy was more clear-cut in area 3b as compared with areas 1 and 2. The response to simultaneous stimulation was considerably smaller than the summed responses to separate stimulation of each finger alone, pointing to a suppressive interaction effect. A region-of-interest analysis in the representational areas of the second and third finger revealed sub-area-specific differential suppressive interaction with an increase along the rostral-caudal axis (areas 3b, 1 and 2: 26, 32.7 and 42.2%, respectively). These findings on differences in the topographic as well as functional organization between sub-areas of SI support the notion of increasing convergence and integration from area 3b to areas 1 and 2 in human subjects.
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