Thalamocortical Networks

David A. McCormick

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
Thalamocortical Networks

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  • Development of the Nervous System


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This chapter discusses the thalamic circuit, the cortical circuit, thalamocortical interactions, and neuromodulatory influences and the control of the thalamocortical state. Nearly all the information that goes to the cerebral cortex must pass through the thalamus. Far from being a mere relay station, the thalamus and cortex are intimately and reciprocally interconnected. While the function of this high interconnectivity during the waking state is largely unknown, it is known that the thalamocortical networks are responsible for generating the rhythmic network activities of sleep and epilepsy. These synchronized oscillations depend upon the interactions of thalamic relay cells, reticular neurons, local GABAergic neurons, and the complex interactions of the cortical sheet. Unraveling the functional properties of thalamocortical actions in behavior will be a complex and difficult task, owing to the high degree of interconnectivity, and the precision of this connectivity, of the cerebral cortex and its descending projections to the thalamus.

Chapter.  4017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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