As our understanding of the thalamocortical system deepens, the questions we face become more complex. Their investigation requires the adoption of novel experimental approaches complemented with increasingly sophisticated computational modeling. In this review, we take stock of current data and knowledge about the circuitry of the somatosensory thalamocortical loop in rodents, discussing common principles across modalities and species whenever appropriate. We review the different levels of organization, including the cells, synapses, neuroanatomy, and network connectivity. We provide a complete overview of this system that should be accessible for newcomers to this field while nevertheless being comprehensive enough to serve as a reference for seasoned neuroscientists and computational modelers studying the thalamocortical system. We further highlight key gaps in data and knowledge that constitute pressing targets for future experimental work. Filling these gaps would provide invaluable information for systematically unveiling how this system supports behavioral and cognitive processes.
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