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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 6;7(1):4772. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05118-1.

The normal environment delays the development of multisensory integration.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (Ministry of Education and Shanghai), School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China. jhxu@bio.ecnu.edu.cn.
2
Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (Ministry of Education and Shanghai), School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China.
3
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, 27157, USA.

Abstract

Multisensory neurons in animals whose cross-modal experiences are compromised during early life fail to develop the ability to integrate information across those senses. Consequently, they lack the ability to increase the physiological salience of the events that provide the convergent cross-modal inputs. The present study demonstrates that superior colliculus (SC) neurons in animals whose visual-auditory experience is compromised early in life by noise-rearing can develop visual-auditory multisensory integration capabilities rapidly when periodically exposed to a single set of visual-auditory stimuli in a controlled laboratory paradigm. However, they remain compromised if their experiences are limited to a normal housing environment. These observations seem counterintuitive given that multisensory integrative capabilities ordinarily develop during early life in normal environments, in which a wide variety of sensory stimuli facilitate the functional organization of complex neural circuits at multiple levels of the neuraxis. However, the very richness and inherent variability of sensory stimuli in normal environments will lead to a less regular coupling of any given set of cross-modal cues than does the otherwise "impoverished" laboratory exposure paradigm. That this poses no significant problem for the neonate, but does for the adult, indicates a maturational shift in the requirements for the development of multisensory integration capabilities.

PMID:
28684852
PMCID:
PMC5500544
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-017-05118-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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