Persistent and specific influences of early acoustic environments on primary auditory cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2001 Nov;4(11):1123-30. doi: 10.1038/nn745.


This study demonstrates that the adult form of 'tonotopic maps' of sound frequency in the rat primary auditory cortex (A1) arises from parallel developmental processes involving two cortical zones: the progressive differentiation and refinement of selectively tone-responsive receptive fields within an initially broadly-tuned posterior zone, and the progressive loss of tone-evoked, short-latency response over an initially large, very broadly tuned anterior zone. The formation of tonotopic maps in A1 was specifically influenced by a rat pup's early acoustic environments. Exposure to pulsed tones resulted in accelerated emergence and an expansion of A1 representations of those specific tone frequencies, as well as a deteriorated tonotopicity and broader-than-normal receptive fields. Thus, auditory experiences during early postnatal development are important in shaping the functional development of auditory cortical representations of specific acoustic environments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / growth & development*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Environment
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats