Spectrally enhanced acoustic environment disrupts frequency representation in cat auditory cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2006 Jul;9(7):932-9. doi: 10.1038/nn1720. Epub 2006 Jun 18.


Sensory environments are known to shape nervous system organization. Here we show that passive long-term exposure to a spectrally enhanced acoustic environment (EAE) causes reorganization of the tonotopic map in juvenile cat auditory cortex without inducing any hearing loss. The EAE consisted of tone pips of 32 different frequencies (5-20 kHz), presented in random order at an average rate of 96 Hz. The EAE caused a strong reduction of the representation of EAE frequencies and an over-representation of frequencies neighboring those of the EAE. This is in sharp contrast with earlier developmental studies showing an enlargement of the cortical representation of EAEs consisting of a narrow frequency band. We observed fewer than normal appropriately tuned short-latency responses to EAE frequencies, together with more common long-latency responses tuned to EAE-neighboring frequencies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Acoustics*
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Spectrum Analysis