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Exp Brain Res. 2005 Oct;166(3-4):305-15. Epub 2005 Jun 30.

The development of a dialogue between cortex and midbrain to integrate multisensory information.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, 27157-1010, USA.


The anterior ectosylvian (AES) and rostral lateral suprasylvian (rLS) sulci send critical signals to multisensory superior colliculus (SC) neurons that enable them to integrate information from different senses. When either of these areas is temporarily deactivated in adult animals, the ability of SC neurons to integrate multisensory information and, thereby, enhance their responses to cross-modal stimuli is temporarily compromised. As a consequence, the ability to use cross-modal stimuli to enhance SC-mediated behavioral performance is also compromised. In contrast, removal of either one of these areas during early life has little effect on the development of multisensory processes in the SC or on SC-mediated multisensory behaviors and these animals seem very similar to normal controls. These observations suggest that there is considerable plasticity in these cortico-collicular systems during early life, with each area able to compensate for the early loss of the other. However, when both AES and rLS are removed early in life, there appears to be no compensation. The SC neurons now deal with sensory stimuli, even those embedded in multisensory complexes, as if they were there alone, precluding any SC-mediated behavioral benefit to cross-modal stimuli.

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