Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurophysiol. 2000 Nov;84(5):2426-39.

Parallels between timing of onset responses of single neurons in cat and of evoked magnetic fields in human auditory cortex.

Author information

Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, D-39118 Magdeburg, Germany.


Sound onsets constitute particularly salient transients and evoke strong responses from neurons of the auditory system, but in the past, such onset responses have often been analyzed with respect to steady-state features of sounds, like the sound pressure level. Recent electrophysiological studies of single neurons from the auditory cortex of anesthetized cats have revealed that the timing and strength of onset responses are shaped by dynamic stimulus properties at their very onsets. Here we demonstrate with magnetoencephalography that stimulus-response relationships very similar to those of the single neurons are observed in two onset components, N100m and P50m, of auditory evoked magnetic fields (AEFs) from the auditory cortex of awake humans. In response to tones shaped with cosine-squared rise functions, N100m and P50m peak latencies vary systematically with tone level and rise time but form a rather invariant function of the acceleration of the envelope at tone onset. Hence N100m and P50m peak latencies, as well as peak amplitudes, are determined by dynamic properties of the stimuli within the first few milliseconds, though not necessarily by acceleration. The changes of N100m and P50m peak latencies with rise time and level are incompatible with a fixed-amplitude threshold model. The direct comparison of the neuromagnetic and single-neuron data shows that, on average, the variance of the neuromagnetic data is larger by one to two orders of magnitude but that favorable measurements can yield variances as low as those derived from neurons with mediocre precision of response timing. The striking parallels between the response timing of single cortical neurons and of AEFs provides a stronger link between single neuron and population activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center