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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24695

Title: Development of Neuronal Responses to Frequency-modulated Tones in Chinchilla Auditory Cortex
Authors: Brown, Trecia
Advisor: Harrison, Robert
Department: Physiology
Keywords: FM sweeps
development
direction selectivity
acoustic exposure
speed selectivity
conditioning
Issue Date: 5-Aug-2010
Abstract: A central issue in auditory research is how the auditory brain encodes complex stimuli. However, the process by which the auditory cortex interprets complex sounds during development and the extent to which cortical organization can be manipulated by complex stimulation is still undetermined. We have addressed this gap in the following three studies. First, we characterized the responses of cortical neurons in adult chinchillas to frequency-modulated (FM) stimulation. Next, we asked whether FM coding at the cortical level is innate or if its development is influenced by normal postnatal environmental experience. Finally, we investigated the effect of sustained neonatal FM sweep exposure on the development of cortical responses to tonal and FM stimuli. In our adult study, results indicated that >90% of sampled neurons were responsive to FM sweeps. The population preference was for upward FM sweeps and for medium to fast speeds ( 0.3 kHz/ms). Three types of temporal response patterns were observed: a single peak at sweep onset/offset (‘onset’) and a single peak (‘late’) or multiple peaks (‘burst’) during the sweep. ‘Late’ units expressed the highest direction and speed selectivity; ‘onset’ units were selective only for direction and ‘burst’ units were selective for neither direction nor speed. In our developmental study, our results showed a significant developmental increase in FM direction selectivity. However, FM speed selectivity appeared to be established early in development. In our developmental plasticity study, we hypothesized that constant FM exposure would increase the proportion of auditory neurons that are selectively responsive to the conditioning FM sweep. However, our results showed that while tonal response latencies increased after the exposure period, the conditioning stimulus had minimal effect on the FM direction preferences of cortical neurons and decreased overall neuronal FM speed selectivity. In conclusion, we suggest that chinchilla auditory cortical neurons are not uniquely activated by FM sounds but that FM responses are largely predictable based on how changing frequency stimuli interact with the receptive fields of these neurons. We also propose that the development of FM direction sensitivity is experience-independent and that perhaps normal acoustic experience is required to maintain FM speed tuning.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24695
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Physiology - Doctoral theses

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