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Brain Res. 2000 Jun 16;868(1):66-78.

Multiple representations of information in the primary auditory cortex of cats. II. Stability and change in early (<32 ms), rapid components of activity after conditioning with a click conditioned stimulus.

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  • 1Mental Retardation Research Center, Brain Research Institute, UCLA Medical Center, Room 58-232, NPI, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.


Activity was recorded from single units of the A(I) cortex of awake animals to identify early (<32 ms) components of the population response to a 70 dB click and establish if they changed after using the click as a CS for conditioning. A 70 dB hiss was used as a discriminative stimulus. Responses to these stimuli were compared before and after a forward order of pairing that produced conditioning and a backward order of pairing that produced weak sensitization (backward conditioning). Averages of discharges in 2 and 4 ms bins distinguished primary (8-12 ms) from secondary (12-16 ms) temporal components of response to the click, and confirmed that the onset of the response was shorter in A(I) (8 ms, mean of 647 units) than in the adjacent, A(II) cortex (16 ms, mean of 95 units). (All times include a 1.6 ms transmission delay in sound arrival.) Primary and secondary components of A(I) responses to click did not change uniformly after changes in behavioral state, and were affected differently by both conditioning and backward conditioning. The percentage of cells with onsets of response to the click at secondary latencies (and to the hiss at tertiary latencies) increased after backward conditioning but not after conditioning, as did the magnitude of activity in response to the click. (The latter had a lesser degree of increase after conditioning.) The primary response to the click did not show these increases. The non-uniform changes suggested that temporal processing of the click was conducted differently in the 8-12 ms post stimulus period than in the 12-16 ms period. Within the total population of cells, it was possible to identify a small subgroup (13%) of highly auditory-responsive units that showed an increased primary response to the click as a CS selectively after conditioning and not after backward conditioning. The secondary component of response in these cells increased after both conditioning and backward conditioning. The percentages of cells responding to the click and hiss at primary latencies did not change significantly after conditioning, even in the subgroup of highly responsive cells. The results characterize differently timed components of rapid responses to acoustic stimuli in the A(I) cortex, disclose significant temporal differences in primary, secondary and tertiary information processing that affect the representations of the transmitted acoustic message across different behavioral states, and find one representation in a small subgroup of cells that supports the hypothesis that cells of the A(I) cortex have a selectively potentiated response to the CS after conditioning.

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