Development of spectral and temporal response selectivity in the auditory cortex

Edward F. Chang, Shaowen Bao, Kazuo Imaizumi, Christoph E. Schreiner, Michael M. Merzenich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


The mechanisms by which hearing selectivity is elaborated and refined in early development are very incompletely determined. In this study, we documented contributions of progressively maturing inhibitory influences on the refinement of spectral and temporal response properties in the primary auditory cortex. Inhibitory receptive fields (IRFs) of infant rat auditory cortical neurons were spectrally far broader and had extended over far longer duration than did those of adults. The selective refinement of IRFs was delayed relative to that of excitatory receptive fields by an ≈2-week period that corresponded to the critical period for plasticity. Local application of a GABAA receptor antagonist revealed that intracortical inhibition contributes to this progressive receptive field maturation for response selectivity in frequency. Conversely, it had no effect on the duration of IRFs or successive-signal cortical response recovery times. The importance of exposure to patterned acoustic inputs was suggested when both spectral and temporal IRF maturation were disrupted in rat pups reared in continuous, moderate-intensity noise. They were subsequently renormalized when animals were returned to standard housing conditions as adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16460-16465
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 8 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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