Metabolic mapping of rat striatum: somatotopic organization of sensorimotor activity

Lucy L. Brown, Frank R Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Diseases that affect the striatum produce movement disorders, for which rats have been a useful model. To determine the organization of functional, neural activity in the rat striatum related to motor activity, we used electrical stimulation of the motor cortex and [14C]deoxyglucose autoradiography. The stimulation produced movements of each of three body regions. Both the motor and somatosensory cortex were activated. Image analysis was used to objectively localize peak activation and to provide a map for further stereotaxic and localization studies. In the anterior striatum, in the dorsolateral sector, region of peak activation were well separated for each body region: the hindlimb peak activation was dorsomedial, the forelimb ventrolateral and vibrissae medial. Also, the activation fields were larger in anterior than in posterior striatum. Furthermore, activation ipsilateral to movement was present and the peak localization was offset from peaks contralateral to movement. In addition, there were activation regions in lateral striatum where body region representations may overlap. This is the first demonstration of a global striatal somatotopy that separates the limbs and vibrissae in rats. The functional average revealed by the deoxyglucose autoradiography showed a predominant isotropic or rod-like representation of sensorimotor activity for the limbs in striatum during movement and confirms aspects of the anatomy known for the corticostriate system in primates: metabolism was 'patchy,' and extended throughout long anteroposterior domains in striatum. These extensive and patchy arrangements suggest integrative, combinational and/or associative networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-222
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 24 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Caudate-putamen
  • Forelimb
  • Hindlimb
  • Motor cortex
  • Striatum
  • [C]deoxyglucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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