Corticofugal gating of auditory information in the thalamus: an in vivo intracellular recording study

J Neurosci. 2004 Mar 24;24(12):3060-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4897-03.2004.


In the present study, we investigated the auditory responses of the medial geniculate (MGB) neurons, through in vivo intracellular recordings of anesthetized guinea pigs, while the auditory cortex was electrically activated. Of the 63 neurons that received corticofugal modulation of the membrane potential, 30 received potentiation and 33 received hyperpolarization. The corticofugal potentiation of the membrane potential (amplitude, mean +/- SD, 8.6 +/- 5.5 mV; duration, 125.5 +/- 75.4 msec) facilitated the auditory responses and spontaneous firing of the MGB neurons. The hyperpolarization of -11.3 +/- 4.9 mV in amplitude and 210.0 +/- 210.1 msec in duration suppressed the auditory responses and spontaneous firing of the MGB neurons. Four of the five neurons that were histologically confirmed to be located in the lemniscal MGB received corticofugal facilitatory modulation, and all of the four neurons that were confirmed to be located in the non-lemniscal MGB received corticofugal inhibitory modulation. The present intracellular recording provides novel results on how the corticofugal projection gates the sensory information in the thalamus: via the spatially selective depolarization of lemniscal MGB neurons and hyperpolarization of non-lemniscal MGB neurons. It is speculated that the systematic selectivity of facilitation and inhibition over the lemniscal and non-lemniscal MGB is related to the attention shift within the auditory modality and across the sensory modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology*


  • neurobiotin
  • Biotin