Visuomotor signals for reaching movements in the rostro-dorsal sector of the monkey thalamic reticular nucleus
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The thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) collects inputs from the cerebral cortex and thalamus and, in turn, sends inhibitory outputs to the thalamic relay nuclei. This unique connectivity suggests that the TRN plays a pivotal role in regulating information flow through the thalamus. Here, we analyzed the roles of TRN neurons in visually guided reaching movements. We first used retrograde transneuronal labeling with rabies virus, and showed that the rostro-dorsal sector of the TRN (TRNrd) projected disynaptically to the ventral premotor cortex (PMv). In other experiments, we recorded neurons from the TRNrd or PMv while monkeys performed a visuomotor task. We found that neurons in the TRNrd and PMv showed visual-, set-, and movement-related activity modulation. These results indicate that the TRNrd, as well as the PMv, is involved in the reception of visual signals and in the preparation and execution of reaching movements. The fraction of neurons that were non-selective for the location of visual signals or the direction of reaching movements was greater in the TRNrd than in the PMv. Furthermore, the fraction of neurons whose activity increased from the baseline was greater in the TRNrd than in the PMv. The timing of activity modulation of visual-related and movement-related neurons was similar in TRNrd and PMv neurons. Overall, our data suggest that TRNrd neurons provide motor thalamic nuclei with inhibitory inputs that are predominantly devoid of spatial selectivity, and that these signals modulate how these nuclei engage in both sensory processing and motor output during visually guided reaching behavior.
- European Journal of Neuroscience
European Journal of Neuroscience 45(9), 1186-1199, 2017-05