Similarities Between Somatosensory Cortical Responses Induced via Natural Touch and Microstimulation in the Ventral Posterior Lateral Thalamus in Macaques.
Lost sensations, such as touch, could be restored by microstimulation (MiSt) along the sensory neural substrate. Such neuroprosthetic sensory information can be used as feedback from an invasive brain-machine interface (BMI) to control a robotic arm/hand, such that tactile and proprioceptive feedback from the sensorized robotic arm/hand is directly given to the BMI user. Microstimulation in the human somatosensory thalamus (Vc) has been shown to produce somatosensory perceptions. However, until recently, systematic methods for using thalamic stimulation to evoke naturalistic touch perceptions were lacking. We have recently presented rigorous methods for determining a mapping between ventral posterior lateral thalamus (VPL) MiSt, and neural responses in the somatosensory cortex (S1), in a rodent model (Choi et al., 2016; Choi and Francis, 2018). Our technique minimizes the difference between S1 neural responses induced by natural sensory stimuli and those generated via VPL MiSt. Our goal is to develop systems that know what neural response a given MiSt will produce and possibly allow the development of natural "sensation." To date, our optimization has been conducted in the rodent model and simulations. Here, we present data from simple non-optimized thalamic MiSt during peri-operative experiments, where we used MiSt in the VPL of macaques, which have a somatosensory system more like humans, as compared to our previous rat work (Li et al., 2014; Choi et al., 2016). We implanted arrays of microelectrodes across the hand area of the macaque S1 cortex as well as in the VPL. Multi and single-unit recordings were used to compare cortical responses to natural touch and thalamic MiSt in the anesthetized state. Post-stimulus time histograms were highly correlated between the VPL MiSt and natural touch modalities, adding support to the use of VPL MiSt toward producing a somatosensory neuroprosthesis in humans.
Francis, JT; Rozenboym, A; von Kraus, L; Xu, S; Chhatbar, P; Semework, M; Hawley, E; Chapin, J
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