We used voltage-sensitive-dye-based imaging techniques to identify and characterize the insular auditory field (IAF) in mice. Previous research has identified five auditory fields in the mouse auditory cortex, including the primary field and the anterior auditory field. This study confirmed the existence of the primary field and anterior auditory field by examining the tonotopy in each field. Further, we identified a previously unreported IAF located rostral to known auditory fields. Pure tone evoked responses in the IAF exhibited the shortest latency among all auditory fields at lower frequencies. A rostroventral to dorsocaudal frequency gradient was consistently observed in the IAF in all animals examined. Neither the response amplitude nor the response duration changed with frequency in the IAF, but the area of activation exhibited a significant increase with decreasing tone frequency. Taken together, the current results indicate the existence of an IAF in mice, with characteristics suggesting a role in the rapid detection of lower frequency components of incoming sound.
© 2011 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2011 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.