Interval timing and the encoding of signal duration by ensembles of cortical and striatal neurons.
This study investigated the firing patterns of striatal and cortical neurons in rats in a temporal generalization task. Striatal and cortical ensembles were recorded in rats trained to lever press at 2 possible criterion durations (10 s or 40 s from tone onset). Twenty-two percent of striatal and 15% of cortical cells had temporally specific modulations in their firing rate, firing at a significantly different rate around 10 s compared with 40 s. On 80% of trials, a post hoc analysis of the trial-by-trial consistency of the firing rates of an ensemble of neurons predicted whether a spike train came from a time window around 10 s versus around 40 s. Results suggest that striatal and cortical neurons encode specific durations in their firing rate and thereby serve as components of a neural circuit used to represent duration.
Matell, MS; Meck, WH; Nicolelis, MAL
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