PloS one

Compensating Level-Dependent Frequency Representation in Auditory Cortex by Synaptic Integration of Corticocortical Input.

PMID 28046062


Robust perception of auditory objects over a large range of sound intensities is a fundamental feature of the auditory system. However, firing characteristics of single neurons across the entire auditory system, like the frequency tuning, can change significantly with stimulus intensity. Physiological correlates of level-constancy of auditory representations hence should be manifested on the level of larger neuronal assemblies or population patterns. In this study we have investigated how information of frequency and sound level is integrated on the circuit-level in the primary auditory cortex (AI) of the Mongolian gerbil. We used a combination of pharmacological silencing of corticocortically relayed activity and laminar current source density (CSD) analysis. Our data demonstrate that with increasing stimulus intensities progressively lower frequencies lead to the maximal impulse response within cortical input layers at a given cortical site inherited from thalamocortical synaptic inputs. We further identified a temporally precise intercolumnar synaptic convergence of early thalamocortical and horizontal corticocortical inputs. Later tone-evoked activity in upper layers showed a preservation of broad tonotopic tuning across sound levels without shifts towards lower frequencies. Synaptic integration within corticocortical circuits may hence contribute to a level-robust representation of auditory information on a neuronal population level in the auditory cortex.

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G019 Muscimol hydrobromide, ≥98% (HPLC), solid
C4H6N2O2 · HBr