The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a small-bodied New World primate that is becoming an important model to study brain functions. Despite several studies exploring the somatosensory system of marmosets, all results have come from anesthetized animals using invasive techniques and post-mortem analyses. Here we demonstrate the feasibility for getting high-quality and reproduceable sensorimotor mapping in awake marmosets with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We acquired fMRI sequences in four animals while they received tactile stimulation (via air-puffs), delivered to the face, arm or leg. We found that the body representation progressed medially from the leg to the face in areas 3a, 3b, 1/2, and from caudal to rostral sites in areas S2 and PV. SI and SII exhibited a body representation in their functional connectivity pattern within the posterior and midcingulate and the thalamus. Interestingly, we also found a somatotopic body representation in two subcortical areas: the thalamus and, for the first time, in the putamen. These maps have similar organizations as those previously found in Old World macaque monkeys and humans, suggesting that these subcortical somatotopic organizations were already established before Old and New World primates diverged. Our results show the first whole brain mapping of somatosensory responses acquired in a non-invasive way in awake marmosets.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience