Neurons in and posterior to the primate sensory nucleus of the thalamus (VPL) were tested for excitation by iontophoretically applied excitatory amino acid agonists. In addition, in several cells the effects of iontophoretically applied excitatory amino acid antagonists on the responses to cutaneous stimuli were examined. All neurons showed responses to all agonists. The responses of several neurons to cutaneous stimuli were attenuated or blocked by local administration of receptor antagonists. These results provide initial evidence that somatosensory responses of neurons in the primate thalamus are mediated by excitatory amino acids.
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