Neuronal oscillations and multisensory interaction in primary auditory cortex

Neuron. 2007 Jan 18;53(2):279-92. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.12.011.


Recent anatomical, physiological, and neuroimaging findings indicate multisensory convergence at early, putatively unisensory stages of cortical processing. The objective of this study was to confirm somatosensory-auditory interaction in A1 and to define both its physiological mechanisms and its consequences for auditory information processing. Laminar current source density and multiunit activity sampled during multielectrode penetrations of primary auditory area A1 in awake macaques revealed clear somatosensory-auditory interactions, with a novel mechanism: somatosensory inputs appear to reset the phase of ongoing neuronal oscillations, so that accompanying auditory inputs arrive during an ideal, high-excitability phase, and produce amplified neuronal responses. In contrast, responses to auditory inputs arriving during the opposing low-excitability phase tend to be suppressed. Our findings underscore the instrumental role of neuronal oscillations in cortical operations. The timing and laminar profile of the multisensory interactions in A1 indicate that nonspecific thalamic systems may play a key role in the effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Oscillometry
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Time Factors