Representation of cochlea within primary auditory cortex in the cat

J Neurophysiol. 1975 Mar;38(2):231-49. doi: 10.1152/jn.1975.38.2.231.


The representation of sound frequency (and of the cochlear partition) within primary auditory cortex has been investigated with use of microelectrode-mapping techniques in a series of 25 anesthetized cats. Among the results were the following: 1) Within vertical penetrations into AI, best frequency and remarkably constant for successively studied neurons across the active middle and deep cortical layers. 2) There is an orderly representation of frequency (and of represented cochlear place) within AI. Frequency is rerepresented across the mediolateral dimension of the field. On an axis perpendicular to this plane of rerepresentation, best-frequency (represented cochlear place) changes as a simple function of cortical location. 3) Any given frequency band (or sector of the cochlear partition) is represented across a belt of cortex of nearly constant width that runs on a nearly straight axis across AI. 4) There is a disproportionately large cortical surface representation of the highest-frequency octaves (basal cochlea) within AI. 5) The primary and secondary field locations were somewhat variable, when referenced to cortical surface landmarks. 6) Data from long penetrations passing down the rostral bank of the posterior ectosylvian sulcus were consistent with the existence of a vertical unit of organization in AI, akin to cortical columns described in primary visual and somatosensory cortex. 7) Responses to tonal stimuli were encountered in fields dorsocaudal, caudal, ventral, and rostral to AI. There is an orderly representation of the cochlea within the field rostal to AI, with a reversal in best frequencies across its border with AI. 8) Physiological definitions of AI boundaries are consistent with their cytoarchitectonic definition. Some of the implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Cochlea / physiology*
  • Microelectrodes
  • Sound
  • Stereotaxic Techniques