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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Government Grants Promoting Cruelty to Animals

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

STEVEN S. HSIAO - Primate Testing - 2006

Grant Number: 5R01NS034086-11
Project Title: Attention and Tactile Processing in Somatosensory Cortex
PI Information: PROFESSOR STEVEN S. HSIAO, [email protected] 

Funds are requested to continue our studies of how the shape is represented and processed in the somatosensory system and to determine how those representations are modulated by selective attention. In this proposal we concentrate on determining how information from multiple digits are integrated to form central representations of object shape. These studies build on our previous studies showing that many neurons in somatosensory cortex show feature selective responses to oriented bars, the selectivity is in skin centered coordinates, and the sensitivity is modulated by changes in hand conformation. From those findings we hypothesize that shape perception is based on populations of neurons integrating points of contact with the positions of the fingers. There are two (2) specific aims. The first is to investigate how the points of contact are integrated during the processing of two-dimensional (2D) shapes. In these experiments, shapes that contact multiple digits are decomposed into features that will be presented to the hand either alone or in combination with other features while the animal performs a tactile-visual matching task. This study will determine how independent views of objects are integrated across digits to form neural representations of two-dimensional (2D) objects. The study will also determine the role that attention plays in the binding of tactile features. The second aim is to determine how feature selectivity is modulated by hand conformation. In these experiments, animals will be trained to grasp three-dimensional (3D) objects with one (1) or more digits. The objects are chosen such that they span the conformational space that animals and humans use when grasping objects. These experiments will test the hypothesis that shape perception is encoded by populations of neurons with feature selective responses tuned to specific hand conformations. Experiments will be performed in primary (SI) and secondary (SII) somatosensory cortex.

Thesaurus Terms:
attention, brain mapping, form /pattern perception, neural information processing, sensory discrimination, somesthetic sensory cortex, touch
electrophysiology, neurophysiology, psychophysics, sensory feedback, sensory signal detection, space perception, stimulus /response, visual perception, visual stimulus
Macaca mulatta, behavioral /social science research tag, clinical research, human subject

W400 Wyman Park Building
BALTIMORE, MD 212182680
Fiscal Year: 2006
Department: NONE
Project Start: 30-SEP-1995
Project End: 28-FEB-2010

The Journal of Neuroscience, December 8, 2004, 24(49):11193-11204

Receptive Field Properties of the Macaque Second Somatosensory Cortex: Evidence for Multiple Functional Representations

Paul J. Fitzgerald, John W. Lane, Pramodsingh H. Thakur, and Steven S. Hsiao
Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Departments of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Five cortical hemispheres of three rhesus monkeys (M. mulatta), weighing 5-7 kg, were studied. Two of the monkeys were male (monkeys 16H and R1171), and one was female (monkey 2H). We recorded from both hemispheres of monkeys 16H and 2H and from the right hemisphere of monkey R1171 in the mapping study and from both hemispheres of monkeys 16H and 2H in the motorized oriented bar study.

All of the recordings were done while the monkeys were in a nearly constant state of alertness. Two monkeys (16H and 2H) were trained to perform a visual detection task. In this task, the monkey pressed a lever with its foot to obtain a liquid reward when a 2 x 2 box, presented on a video monitor, dimmed for 1.5 sec after a random interval of 2-5 sec. The monkeys required 2-3 months of training to perform the task at 90% correct or better. The third monkey (R1171) was kept alert by giving it food treats at regular intervals.

Monkeys 16H and 2H were also trained to sit still with their hands restrained during recording sessions that used the motorized oriented bar. The palm of each hand was secured to a hand-holding base using custom-molded thermoplastic (Smith & Nephew, Memphis, TN). The individual fingers were then secured by gluing (PIC/PIC Apart; MCM Electronics, Centerville, OH) the fingernails to the base. When fully secured, the hand was supinated with the glabrous skin of digits 2-5 (D2-D5) exposed and these digits extending straight forward. Restraining the hand allowed the stimulator to stimulate the digits in an accurate and repeatable manner. Digit 1 was not studied using the stimulator because it was not possible to comfortably hold this digit flat against the hand-holder.


Before the microelectrode recordings, surgery was performed to secure a head-holding device and recording chambers to the skull. Surgical anesthesia was induced with ketamine HCl (20 mg/kg, i.m.) and maintained with pentobarbital (10-25 mg kg-1 hr-1, i.v.). All surgical procedures were done under sterile conditions and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Johns Hopkins Animal Care and Use Committee and the Society for Neuroscience.

General recording techniques.
All recordings were performed with the monkeys in an awake, unanesthetized state.

Please email: STEVEN S. HSIAO, [email protected] to protest the inhumane use of animals in this experiment. We would also love to know about your efforts with this cause: [email protected]

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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