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Mapping quantal touch using 7 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging and single-unit intraneural microstimulation

  1. Rosa Maria Sanchez Panchuelo  Is a corresponding author
  2. Rochelle Ackerley
  3. Paul M Glover
  4. Richard W Bowtell
  5. Johan Wessberg
  6. Susan T Francis
  7. Francis McGlone
  1. University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  2. University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e12812 doi: 10.7554/eLife.12812

Abstract

Using ultra-high field 7 Tesla (7T) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we map the cortical and perceptual responses elicited by intraneural microstimulation (INMS) of single mechanoreceptive afferent units in the median nerve, in humans. Activations are compared to those produced by applying vibrotactile stimulation to the unit's receptive field, and unit-type perceptual reports are analyzed. We show that INMS and vibrotactile stimulation engage overlapping areas within the topographically appropriate digit representation in the primary somatosensory cortex. Additional brain regions in bilateral secondary somatosensory cortex, premotor cortex, primary motor cortex, insula and posterior parietal cortex, as well as in contralateral prefrontal cortex are also shown to be activated in response to INMS. The combination of INMS and 7T fMRI opens up an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the gap between first-order mechanoreceptive afferent input codes and their spatial, dynamic and perceptual representations in human cortex.

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Author details

  1. Rosa Maria Sanchez Panchuelo

    Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    rosa.panchuelo@nottingham.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Rochelle Ackerley

    Department of Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Paul M Glover

    Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Richard W Bowtell

    Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Johan Wessberg

    Department of Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Susan T Francis

    Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Francis McGlone

    School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethics

Human subjects: This work was approved by the University of Nottingham Medical School Ethics Committee. All participants gave full, written, informed consent.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Eilon Vaadia, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Publication history

  1. Received: November 6, 2015
  2. Accepted: May 6, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 7, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 8, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2016, Sanchez Panchuelo et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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