Infragranular barrel cortex activity is enhanced with learning

Rebekah L. Ward, Luke C. Flores, John F Disterhoft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The barrel cortex (BC) is essential for the acquisition of whiskersignaled trace eyeblink conditioning and shows learning-related expansion of the trained barrels after the acquisition of a whiskersignaled task. Most previous research examining the role of the BC in learning has focused on anatomic changes in the layer IV representation of the cortical barrels. We studied single-unit extracellular recordings from individual neurons in layers V and VI of the BC as rabbits acquired the whisker-signaled trace eyeblink conditioning task. Neurons in layers V and VI in both conditioned and pseudoconditioned animals robustly responded to whisker stimulation, but neurons in conditioned animals showed a significant enhancement in responsiveness in concert with learning. Learning-related changes in firing rate occurred as early as the day of learning criterion within the infra granular layers of the primary sensory cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1287
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Associative learning
  • Classical conditioning
  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Trace eyeblink conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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