Disruption of primary auditory cortex by synchronous auditory inputs during a critical period

Li I. Zhang, Shaowen Bao, Michael M. Merzenich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


In the primary auditory cortex (AI), the development of tone frequency selectivity and tonotopic organization is influenced by patterns of neural activity. Introduction of synchronous inputs into the auditory pathway achieved by exposing rat pups to pulsed white noise at a moderate intensity during P9-P28 resulted in a disrupted tonotopicity and degraded frequency-response selectivity for neurons in the adult AI. The latter was manifested by broader-than-normal tuning curves, multipeaks, and discontinuous, tone-evoked responses within AI-receptive fields. These effects correlated with the severe impairment of normal, developmental sharpening, and refinement of receptive fields and tonotopicity. In addition, paradoxically weaker than normal temporal correlations between the discharges of nearby AI neurons were recorded in exposed rats. In contrast, noise exposure of rats older than P30 did not cause significant change of auditory cortical maps. Thus, patterned auditory inputs appear to play a crucial role in shaping neuronal processing/decoding circuits in the primary auditory cortex during a critical period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2309-2314
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 19 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Disruption of primary auditory cortex by synchronous auditory inputs during a critical period'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this