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Brain. 2017 Dec 1;140(12):3153-3165. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx286.

Induced cortical responses require developmental sensory experience.

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Institute of AudioNeuroTechnology and Department of Experimental Otology, ENT Clinics, Hannover Medical School, Germany.
ENT Clinics, J. W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA.


Sensory areas of the cerebral cortex integrate the sensory inputs with the ongoing activity. We studied how complete absence of auditory experience affects this process in a higher mammal model of complete sensory deprivation, the congenitally deaf cat. Cortical responses were elicited by intracochlear electric stimulation using cochlear implants in adult hearing controls and deaf cats. Additionally, in hearing controls, acoustic stimuli were used to assess the effect of stimulus mode (electric versus acoustic) on the cortical responses. We evaluated time-frequency representations of local field potential recorded simultaneously in the primary auditory cortex and a higher-order area, the posterior auditory field, known to be differentially involved in cross-modal (visual) reorganization in deaf cats. The results showed the appearance of evoked (phase-locked) responses at early latencies (<100 ms post-stimulus) and more abundant induced (non-phase-locked) responses at later latencies (>150 ms post-stimulus). In deaf cats, substantially reduced induced responses were observed in overall power as well as duration in both investigated fields. Additionally, a reduction of ongoing alpha band activity was found in the posterior auditory field (but not in primary auditory cortex) of deaf cats. The present study demonstrates that induced activity requires developmental experience and suggests that higher-order areas involved in the cross-modal reorganization show more auditory deficits than primary areas.


cochlear implant; congenital deafness; cortical oscillations; secondary field; sensory deprivation

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