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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 13;102(37):13325-30. Epub 2005 Sep 1.

Fine functional organization of auditory cortex revealed by Fourier optical imaging.

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  • 1W. M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


We provide an overall view of the functional tonotopic organization of the auditory cortex in the rat. We apply a recently developed technique for acquiring intrinsic signal optical maps, Fourier imaging, in the rat auditory cortex. These highly detailed maps, derived in a several-minute-long recording procedure, delineate multiple auditory cortical areas and demonstrate their shapes, sizes, and tonotopic order. Beyond the primary auditory cortex, there are at least three distinct areas with fine-scale tonotopic organization, as well as at least one additional high-frequency field. The arrangement of all of these cortical areas is consistent across subjects. The accuracy of these optical maps was confirmed by microelectrode mapping in the same subjects. This imaging method allows fast mapping of the auditory cortex at high spatial resolution comparable to that provided by conventional microelectrode technique. Although spiking activity is largely responsible for the evoked intrinsic signals, certain features of the optical signal cannot be explained by spiking activity only, and should probably be attributed to other mechanisms inducing metabolic activity, such as subthreshold membrane phenomena.

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