The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

A Role for Auditory Corticothalamic Feedback in the Perception of Complex Sounds.

PMID 28559384


Feedback signals from the primary auditory cortex (A1) can shape the receptive field properties of neurons in the ventral division of the medial geniculate body (MGBv). However, the behavioral significance of corticothalamic modulation is unknown. The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of this descending pathway in the perception of complex sounds. We tested the ability of adult female ferrets to detect the presence of a mistuned harmonic in a complex tone using a positive conditioned go/no-go behavioral paradigm before and after the input from layer VI in A1 to MGBv was bilaterally and selectively eliminated using chromophore-targeted laser photolysis. MGBv neurons were identified by their short latencies and sharp tuning curves. They responded robustly to harmonic complex tones and exhibited an increase in firing rate and temporal pattern changes when one frequency component in the complex tone was mistuned. Injections of fluorescent microbeads conjugated with a light-sensitive chromophore were made in MGBv, and, following retrograde transport to the cortical cell bodies, apoptosis was induced by infrared laser illumination of A1. This resulted in a selective loss of ∼60% of layer VI A1-MGBv neurons. After the lesion, mistuning detection was impaired, as indicated by decreased