Objective: The amplitude-modulation-following response (AMFR) is the frequency component detectable in the electroencephalogram (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) corresponding to the modulation frequency of an amplitude modulated tone used as a continuous acoustic stimulus. Various properties of the AMFR depend on modulation frequency, suggesting that different generators along the auditory pathway are involved. The present study addresses these issues on the basis of a whole head MEG experiment.
Methods: AM tones with modulators in the 40 Hz and 80 Hz range were presented unilaterally to 10 normal hearing subjects. Biomagnetic responses were recorded with a 151 channel MEG system. The data analysis concentrated on the phase coherence of the responses, group delays and the estimated location of underlying equivalent dipole sources.
Results: MEG AMFR is more reliably detected in the 40 Hz than in the 80 Hz range. Both response amplitude and phase coherence indicate clear bilateral activation over the parietal/temporal region. Dipole source analysis confirms that sources are located in or near the auditory cortex. Group delays at 80 Hz are shorter than at 40 Hz.
Conclusions: In both modulation frequency ranges MEG responses are dominated by activity in the auditory cortex, in apparent contrast with EEG data in the literature, pointing to dominant contributions of thalamic sources to the 80 Hz AMFR.