Effects of Arousal on Mouse Sensory Cortex Depend on Modality

Daisuke Shimaoka, Kenneth D. Harris, Matteo Carandini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in arousal modulate the activity of mouse sensory cortex, but studies in different mice and different sensory areas disagree on whether this modulation enhances or suppresses activity. We measured this modulation simultaneously in multiple cortical areas by imaging mice expressing voltage-sensitive fluorescent proteins (VSFP). VSFP imaging estimates local membrane potential across large portions of cortex. We used temporal filters to predict local potential from running speed or from pupil dilation, two measures of arousal. The filters provided good fits and revealed that the effects of arousal depend on modality. In the primary visual cortex (V1) and auditory cortex (Au), arousal caused depolarization followed by hyperpolarization. In the barrel cortex (S1b) and a secondary visual area (LM), it caused only hyperpolarization. In all areas, nonetheless, arousal reduced the phasic responses to trains of sensory stimuli. These results demonstrate diverse effects of arousal across sensory cortex but similar effects on sensory responses. Shimaoka et al. use voltage-sensitive imaging to show that the effects of arousal on the mouse cortex are markedly different across areas and over time. In all the sensory areas studied, nonetheless, arousal reduced the phasic voltage responses to trains of sensory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3160-3167
Number of pages8
JournalCell Reports
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cerebral cortex
  • cortical state
  • locomotion
  • sensory processing
  • widefield imaging

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