Corticofugal amplification of facilitative auditory responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons in the mustached bat.
Recent studies on the bat's auditory system indicate that the corticofugal system mediates a highly focused positive feedback to physiologically "matched" subcortical neurons, and widespread lateral inhibition to physiologically "unmatched" subcortical neurons, to adjust and improve information processing. These findings have solved the controversy in physiological data, accumulated since 1962, of corticofugal effects on subcortical auditory neurons: inhibitory, excitatory, or both (an inhibitory effect is much more frequent than an excitatory effect). In the mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii parnellii, the inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body, and auditory cortex each have "FM-FM" neurons, which are "combination-sensitive" and are tuned to specific time delays (echo delays) of echo FM components from the FM components of an emitted biosonar pulse. FM-FM neurons are more complex in response properties than cortical neurons which primarily respond to single tones. In the present study, we found that inactivation of the entire FM-FM area in the cortex, including neurons both physiologically matched and unmatched with subcortical FM-FM neurons, on the average reduced the facilitative responses to paired FM sounds by 82% for thalamic FM-FM neurons and by 66% for collicular FM-FM neurons. The corticofugal influence on the facilitative responses of subcortical combination-sensitive neurons is much larger than that on the excitatory responses of subcortical neurons primarily responding to single tones. Therefore we propose the hypothesis that, in general, the processing of complex sounds by combination-sensitive neurons more heavily depends on the corticofugal system than that by single-tone sensitive neurons. (+info)
Episodic retrieval activates the precuneus irrespective of the imagery content of word pair associates. A PET study.
The aim of this study was to evaluate further the role of the precuneus in episodic memory retrieval. The specific hypothesis addressed was that the precuneus is involved in episodic memory retrieval irrespective of the imagery content. Two groups of six right-handed normal male volunteers took part in the study. Each subject underwent six [15O]butanol-PET scans. In each of the six trials, the memory task began with the injection of a bolus of 1500 MBq of [15O]butanol. For Group 1, 12 word pair associates were presented visually, for Group 2 auditorily. The subjects of each group had to learn and retrieve two sets of 12 word pairs each. One set consisted of highly imaginable words and another one of abstract words. Words of both sets were not related semantically, representing 'hard' associations. The presentations of nonsense words served as reference conditions. We demonstrate that the precuneus shows consistent activation during episodic memory retrieval. Precuneus activation occurred in visual and auditory presentation modalities and for both highly imaginable and abstract words. The present study therefore provides further evidence that the precuneus has a specific function in episodic memory retrieval as a multimodal association area. (+info)
Single cortical neurons serve both echolocation and passive sound localization.
The pallid bat uses passive listening at low frequencies to detect and locate terrestrial prey and reserves its high-frequency echolocation for general orientation. While hunting, this bat must attend to both streams of information. These streams are processed through two parallel, functionally specialized pathways that are segregated at the level of the inferior colliculus. This report describes functionally bimodal neurons in auditory cortex that receive converging input from these two pathways. Each brain stem pathway imposes its own suite of response properties on these cortical neurons. Consequently, the neurons are bimodally tuned to low and high frequencies, and respond selectively to both noise transients used in prey detection, and downward frequency modulation (FM) sweeps used in echolocation. A novel finding is that the monaural and binaural response properties of these neurons can change as a function of the sound presented. The majority of neurons appeared binaurally inhibited when presented with noise but monaural or binaurally facilitated when presented with the echolocation pulse. Consequently, their spatial sensitivity will change, depending on whether the bat is engaged in echolocation or passive listening. These results demonstrate that the response properties of single cortical neurons can change with behavioral context and suggest that they are capable of supporting more than one behavior. (+info)
The magnitude and phase of temporal modulation transfer functions in cat auditory cortex.
Temporal modulation transfer functions (tMTFs) in response to periodic click trains are presented for simultaneous recordings from primary auditory cortex, anterior auditory field, and secondary auditory cortex in 21 cats. The multiunit records could be separated in to 215 single-unit spike trains that allowed a reliable estimate of a group delay, which represents the cumulative delay for responses to repetitive stimuli. For approximately two-thirds of the 215 single units the group delay was within 7.5 msec of the response latency to the first clicks in the trains. For the remaining units, the group delay was on average approximately 14 msec higher, and this may result from differences in synaptic properties. These findings were similar in the three cortical areas studied. The findings are modeled based on presynaptic facilitation and depression and pyramidal cell calcium kinetics, and a quantitative description of the magnitude of the tMTF was obtained that resulted in substantially shorter depression time constants (20 msec) than reported for visual cortex (300 msec). A small amount (0-5.5%) of facilitation that decayed with a time constant of 60 msec was obtained. Auditory cortical cells apparently have much faster recovery mechanisms than visual cortical cells. This allows for the ability of the auditory cortex to reliably track the rhythms that occur in natural sounds. (+info)
Plasticity of temporal information processing in the primary auditory cortex.
Neurons in the rat primary auditory cortex (A1) generally cannot respond to tone sequences faster than 12 pulses per second (pps). To test whether experience can modify this maximum following rate in adult rats, trains of brief tones with random carrier frequency but fixed repetition rate were paired with electrical stimulation of the nucleus basalis (NB) 300 to 400 times per day for 20-25 days. Pairing NB stimulation with 5-pps stimuli markedly decreased the cortical response to rapidly presented stimuli, whereas pairing with 15-pps stimuli significantly increased the maximum cortical following rate. In contrast, pairing with fixed carrier frequency 15-pps trains did not significantly increase the mean maximum following rate. Thus this protocol elicits extensive cortical remodeling of temporal response properties and demonstrates that simple differences in spectral and temporal features of the sensory input can drive very different cortical reorganizations. (+info)
Activation of Heschl's gyrus during auditory hallucinations.
Apart from being a common feature of mental illness, auditory hallucinations provide an intriguing model for the study of internally generated sensory perceptions that are attributed to external sources. Until now, the knowledge about the cortical network that supports such hallucinations has been restricted by methodological limitations. Here, we describe an experiment with paranoid schizophrenic patients whose on- and offset of auditory hallucinations could be monitored within one functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session. We demonstrate an increase of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in Heschl's gyrus during the patients' hallucinations. Our results provide direct evidence of the involvement of primary auditory areas in auditory verbal hallucinations and establish novel constraints for psychopathological models. (+info)
Sensitivity to simulated directional sound motion in the rat primary auditory cortex.
Sensitivity to simulated directional sound motion in the rat primary auditory cortex. This paper examines neuron responses in rat primary auditory cortex (AI) during sound stimulation of the two ears designed to simulate sound motion in the horizontal plane. The simulated sound motion was synthesized from mathematical equations that generated dynamic changes in interaural phase, intensity, and Doppler shifts at the two ears. The simulated sounds were based on moving sources in the right frontal horizontal quadrant. Stimuli consisted of three circumferential segments between 0 and 30 degrees, 30 and 60 degrees, and 60 and 90 degrees and four radial segments at 0, 30, 60, and 90 degrees. The constant velocity portion of each segment was 0.84 m long. The circumferential segments and center of the radial segments were calculated to simulate a distance of 2 m from the head. Each segment had two trajectories that simulated motion in both directions, and each trajectory was presented at two velocities. Young adult rats were anesthetized, the left primary auditory cortex was exposed, and microelectrode recordings were obtained from sound responsive cells in AI. All testing took place at a tonal frequency that most closely approximated the best frequency of the unit at a level 20 dB above the tuning curve threshold. The results were presented on polar plots that emphasized the two directions of simulated motion for each segment rather than the location of sound in space. The trajectory exhibiting a "maximum motion response" could be identified from these plots. "Neuron discharge profiles" within these trajectories were used to demonstrate neuron activity for the two motion directions. Cells were identified that clearly responded to simulated uni- or multidirectional sound motion (39%), that were sensitive to sound location only (19%), or that were sound driven but insensitive to our location or sound motion stimuli (42%). The results demonstrated the capacity of neurons in rat auditory cortex to selectively process dynamic stimulus conditions representing simulated motion on the horizontal plane. Our data further show that some cells were responsive to location along the horizontal plane but not sensitive to motion. Cells sensitive to motion, however, also responded best to the moving sound at a particular location within the trajectory. It would seem that the mechanisms underlying sensitivity to sound location as well as direction of motion converge on the same cell. (+info)
Neural correlates of gap detection in three auditory cortical fields in the Cat.
Neural correlates of gap detection in three auditory cortical fields in the cat. Mimimum detectable gaps in noise in humans are independent of the position of the gap, whereas in cat primary auditory cortex (AI) they are position dependent. The position dependence in other cortical areas is not known and may resolve this contrast. This study presents minimum detectable gap-in-noise values for which single-unit (SU), multiunit (MU) recordings and local field potentials (LFPs) show an onset response to the noise after the gap. The gap, which varied in duration between 5 and 70 ms, was preceded by a noise burst of either 5 ms (early gap) or 500 ms (late gap) duration. In 10 cats, simultaneous recordings were made with one electrode each in AI, anterior auditory field (AAF), and secondary auditory cortex (AII). In nine additional cats, two electrodes were inserted in AI and one in AAF. Minimum detectable gaps based on SU, MU, or LFP data in each cortical area were the same. In addition, very similar minimum early-gap values were found in all three areas (means, 36.1-41.7 ms). The minimum late-gap values were also similar in AI and AII (means, 11.1 and 11.7 ms), whereas AAF showed significantly larger minimum late-gap durations (mean 21.5 ms). For intensities >35 dB SPL, distributions of minimum early-gap durations in AAF and AII had modal values at approximately 45 ms. In AI, the distribution was more uniform. Distributions for minimum late-gap duration were skewed toward low values (mode at 5 ms), but high values (+info)