Previous neurophysiological studies performed in macaque monkeys have revealed complex somatosensory responses in the secondary somatosensory area (SII), such as large receptive fields (RFs) as well as bilateral ones. However, systematic analyses of neurons with large RFs have not been performed. In the present study, we recorded single-unit activities in SII of awake macaque monkeys to systematically investigate large RFs by dividing the whole body into four body regions (head, trunk, forelimb, and hindlimb). Recorded neurons were classified into two types according to whether the RFs were confined to one body region: single- (n = 817) and combined- (n = 282) body region types. These two types were distinct in terms of the percentage of bilateral RFs: 55% in the single-region type and 90% in the combined type, demonstrating that two types of RF enlargement occur simultaneously in the combined type, namely, RF convergence from different body regions and RF convergence from both hemibodies. Among the combined-type RFs, two tendencies of RF convergence were found: (1) the distal parts of the limbs (i.e., hand and foot) and the mouth are interconnected, and (2) the trunk RFs extend continuously toward the distal parts of the limb and head to cover the entire body surface. Our distribution analysis on unfolded maps clarified that neurons having RFs with these two tendencies were distributed within specific subregions in SII.
- awake macaque monkey
- secondary somatosensory area
- large receptive field
- single-unit recording
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology