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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2011, Article ID 310737, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/310737
Research Article

Neuroplasticity of the Sensorimotor Cortex during Learning

1Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, The Robert F. Furchgott Center of Neural and Behavioral Science, and the Joint Program in Biomedical Engineering at SUNY Downstate and NUY-POLY, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA
2Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA

Received 24 May 2011; Accepted 12 July 2011

Academic Editor: Bjorn Kampa

Copyright © 2011 Joseph Thachil Francis and Weiguo Song. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We will discuss some of the current issues in understanding plasticity in the sensorimotor (SM) cortices on the behavioral, neurophysiological, and synaptic levels. We will focus our paper on reaching and grasping movements in the rat. In addition, we will discuss our preliminary work utilizing inhibition of protein kinase Mζ (PKMζ), which has recently been shown necessary and sufficient for the maintenance of long-term potentiation (LTP) (Ling et al., 2002). With this new knowledge and inhibitors to this system, as well as the ability to overexpress this system, we can start to directly modulate LTP and determine its influence on behavior as well as network level processing dependent at least in part due to this form of LTP. We will also briefly introduce the use of brain machine interface (BMI) paradigms to ask questions about sensorimotor plasticity and discuss current analysis techniques that may help in our understanding of neuroplasticity.