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J Neurophysiol. 2004 Oct;92(4):2574-88. Epub 2004 May 19.

Large-scale organization of ferret auditory cortex revealed using continuous acquisition of intrinsic optical signals.

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Dept. of Neurobiology, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


We have adapted a new approach for intrinsic optical imaging, in which images were acquired continuously while stimuli were delivered in a series of continually repeated sequences, to provide the first demonstration of the large-scale tonotopic organization of both primary and nonprimary areas of the ferret auditory cortex. Optical responses were collected during continuous stimulation by repeated sequences of sounds with varying frequency. The optical signal was averaged as a function of time during the sequence, to produce reflectance modulation functions (RMFs). We examined the stability and properties of the RMFs and show that their zero-crossing points provide the best temporal reference points for quantifying the relationship between the stimulus parameter values and optical responses. Sequences of different duration and direction of frequency change gave rise to comparable results, although in some cases discrepancies were observed, mostly between upward- and downward-frequency sequences. We demonstrated frequency maps, consistent with previous data, in primary auditory cortex and in the anterior auditory field, which were verified with electrophysiological recordings. In addition to these tonotopic gradients, we demonstrated at least 2 new acoustically responsive areas on the anterior and posterior ectosylvian gyri, which have not previously been described. Although responsive to pure tones, these areas exhibit less tonotopic order than the primary fields.

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