Azimuthal sensitivity of neurons in primary auditory cortex of cats. II. Organization along frequency-band strips

J Neurophysiol. 1990 Sep;64(3):888-902. doi: 10.1152/jn.1990.64.3.888.


1. The organization of azimuthal sensitivity of units across the dorsoventral extent of primary auditory cortex (AI) was studied in electrode penetrations made along frequency-band strips of AI. Azimuthal sensitivity for each unit was represented by a mean azimuth function (MF) calculated from all azimuth functions obtained to characteristic frequency (CF) stimuli at intensities 20 dB or more greater than threshold. MFs were classified as contrafield, ipsi-field, central-field, omnidirectional, or multipeaked, according to the criteria established in the companion paper (Rajan et al. 1990). 2. The spatial distribution of three types of MFs was not random across frequency-band strips: for contra-field, ipsi-field, and central-field MFs there was a significant tendency for clustering of functions of the same type in sequentially encountered units. Occasionally, repeated clusters of a particular MF type could be found along a frequency-band strip. In contrast, the spatial distribution of omnidirectional MFs along frequency-band strips appeared to be random. 3. Apart from the clustering of MF types, there were also regions along a frequency-band strip in which there were rapid changes in the type of MF encountered in units isolated over short distances. Most often such changes took the form of irregular, rapid juxtapositions of MF types. Less frequently such changes appeared to show more systematic changes from one type of MF to another type. In contrast to these changes in azimuthal sensitivity seen in electrode penetrations oblique to the cortical surface, much less change in azimuthal sensitivity was seen in the form of azimuthal sensitivity displayed by successively isolated units in penetrations made normal to the cortical surface. 4. To determine whether some significant feature or features of azimuthal sensitivity shifted in a more continuous and/or systematic manner along frequency-band strips, azimuthal sensitivity was quantified in terms of the peak-response azimuth (PRA) of the MFs of successive units and of the azimuthal range over which the peaks occurred in the individual azimuth functions contributing to each MF (the peak-response range). In different experiments shifts in these measures of the peaks in successively isolated units along a frequency-band strip were found generally to fall into one of four categories: 1) shifts across the entire frontal hemifield; 2) clustering in the contralateral quadrant; 3) clustering in the ipsilateral quadrant; and 4) clustering about the midline. In two cases more than one of these four patterns were found along a frequency-band strip.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Sound Localization / physiology*