Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Neuroscience and BioMed Central.

This article is part of the supplement: Eighteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2009

Open Access Poster presentation

A model of the primary auditory cortex response to sequences of pure tones

Ernest Montbrió12, Johan P Larsson1*, Rita Almeida13 and Gustavo Deco14

Author Affiliations

1 Computational Neuroscience Group, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08018 Barcelona, Spain

2 Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA

3 Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), 08036 Barcelona, Spain

4 Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10(Suppl 1):P151  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-S1-P151


The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/10/S1/P151


Published:13 July 2009

© 2009 Montbrió et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

The neurons in the primary auditory cortex (A1) are unable to sustain responses to sequences of stimuli presented at rates exceeding approximately 20 Hz. The ventral medial geniculate body, which provides the main input to A1, is in contrast able to respond to sequences with rates upward of 200 Hz. This filtering of periodic stimuli has been attributed to thalamocortical synaptic depression [1,2]. However, there also exists a frequency-selective filtering below 20 Hz known as differential suppression [3,4]. Such filtering produces a receptive field refinement in A1 neurons, rendering them more selective to the frequency of presented tones as the presentation rate is increased.

This phenomenon is thought to play a fundamental role in auditory grouping (or auditory stream segregation, known as auditory streaming) phenomena, organizing sequential sounds into perceptual streams, reflecting distinct ambient sound sources [5]. Here we propose a simple model of A1 that can account for the differential suppression phenomenon. Our model has constraints compatible with recent physiological findings in A1, such as the approximate balance of inhibition and excitation [6,7], the presence of thalamocortical synaptic depression [1], and the role of intracortical and thalamocortical synapses in the formation of A1's activity pattern [8].

Acknowledgements

E.M., J.P.L. and G.D. acknowledge the financial support of the European research project EmCAP (FP6-IST, Contract No. 013123). R.A acknowledges the financial support of the European research project DiM.

References

  1. Rose HJ, Metherate R: Auditory thalamocortical transmission is reliable and temporally precise.

    J Neurophysiol 2005, 94:2019-2030. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  2. Denham SL: Cortical synaptic depression and auditory perception. In Computational models of auditory function. Volume 312. Edited by Greenberg S, Slaney M. Amsterdam: NATO Science Series: Life Sciences, IOS; 2001::281-296. OpenURL

  3. Fishman YI, Reser DH, Arezzo JC, Steinschneider M: Neural correlates of auditory stream segregation in primary auditory cortex of the awake monkey.

    Hearing Research 2001, 151:167-187. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  4. Fishman YI, Arezzo JC, Steinschneider M: Auditory stream segregation in monkey auditory cortex: effects of frequency separation, presentation rate and tone duration.

    J Acoust Soc Am 2004, 116:1656-1670. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  5. Bregman AS: Auditory Scene Analysis: The perceptual organization of sound. MIT, Cambridge, MA; 1990. OpenURL

  6. Wehr M, Zador AM: Balanced inhibition underlies tuning and sharpens spike timing in auditory cortex.

    Nature 2003, 426:442-446. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  7. Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Liu B, Tao HW, Zhang LI: Lateral sharpening of cortical frequency tuning by approximately balanced inhibition.

    Neuron 2008, 58:132-143. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text OpenURL

  8. Liu B, Wu GK, Arbuckle R, Tao HW, Zhang LI: Defining cortical frequency tuning with recurrent excitatory circuitry.

    Nat Neurosci 2007, 10:1594-1600. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text OpenURL