A novel method for precisely timed stimulation of mouse whiskers in a freely moving preparation: Application for delivery of the conditioned stimulus in trace eyeblink conditioning

Roberto Galvez*, Craig Weiss, Sabrina Cua, John F Disterhoft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The somatosensory whisker pathway has been a useful system for increasing our understanding of experience-induced plasticity. However, precisely timed whisker activation in the awake freely moving mouse has been very difficult. This manuscript describes a method for construction of a whisker stimulator that can be attached to a freely moving mouse. The stimulator was used to activate the whiskers in a time-sensitive forebrain-dependent task, trace eyeblink conditioning. After repeatedly pairing whisker stimulation with delivery of a mild periorbital shock following a stimulus-free trace interval, trace-conditioned mice were able to learn the association. This study demonstrates the potential for using the whisker stimulator in time-sensitive behavioral tasks, such as trace eyeblink conditioning, thus enhancing our ability to examine experience-induced neuronal plasticity in the somatosensory whisker pathway in awake behaving rodents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-439
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2009



  • Barrel cortex
  • Eyeblink
  • Somatosensory
  • Trace conditioning
  • Vibrissae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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