Critical period window for spectral tuning defined in the primary auditory cortex (A1) in the rat

Etienne De Villers-Sidani, Edward F. Chang, Shaowen Bao, Michael M. Merzenich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

280 Scopus citations


Experience-dependent plasticity during development results in the emergence of highly adapted representations of the external world in the adult brain. Previous studies have convincingly shown that the primary auditory cortex (A1) of the rat possesses a postnatal period of sensory input-driven plasticity but its precise timing (onset, duration, end) has not been defined. In the present study, we examined the effects of pure-tone exposure on the auditory cortex of developing rat pups at different postnatal ages with a high temporal resolution. We found that pure-tone exposure resulted in profound, persistent alterations in sound representations in A1 only if the exposure occurred during a brief period extending from postnatal day 11 (P11) to P13. We also found that postnatal sound exposure in this epoch led to striking alterations in the cortical representation of sound intensity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Environment
  • Frequency
  • Learning
  • Plasticity
  • Sensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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