Delineation of a frequency-organized region isolated from the mouse primary auditory cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr 1;113(7):2900-20. doi: 10.1152/jn.00932.2014. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


The primary auditory cortex (AI) is the representative recipient of information from the ears in the mammalian cortex. However, the delineation of the AI is still controversial in a mouse. Recently, it was reported, using optical imaging, that two distinct areas of the AI, located ventrally and dorsally, are activated by high-frequency tones, whereas only one area is activated by low-frequency tones. Here, we show that the dorsal high-frequency area is an independent region that is separated from the rest of the AI. We could visualize the two distinct high-frequency areas using flavoprotein fluorescence imaging, as reported previously. SMI-32 immunolabeling revealed that the dorsal region had a different cytoarchitectural pattern from the rest of the AI. Specifically, the ratio of SMI-32-positive pyramidal neurons to nonpyramidal neurons was larger in the dorsal high-frequency area than the rest of the AI. We named this new region the dorsomedial field (DM). Retrograde tracing showed that neurons projecting to the DM were localized in the rostral part of the ventral division of the medial geniculate body with a distinct frequency organization, where few neurons projected to the AI. Furthermore, the responses of the DM to ultrasonic courtship songs presented by males were significantly greater in females than in males; in contrast, there was no sex difference in response to artificial pure tones. Our findings offer a basic outline on the processing of ultrasonic vocal information on the basis of the precisely subdivided, multiple frequency-organized auditory cortex map in mice.

Keywords: auditory cortex; courtship song; mapping; mice; multiple frequency organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Pitch Perception / physiology*