Auditory cortical projection from the anterior ectosylvian sulcus (Field AES) to the superior colliculus in the cat: an anatomical and electrophysiological study

J Comp Neurol. 1989 Nov 22;289(4):687-707. doi: 10.1002/cne.902890412.


Sensory activity in the deep layers of the superior colliculus (SC) is strongly influenced by descending cortical inputs. Elimination (permanent or reversible) of specific regions of visual or somatosensory cortex, known to have direct access to the SC, abolishes or dramatically reduces SC responses to stimuli from those modalities. While many SC neurons are also responsive to auditory cues, the origin of auditory corticotectal connections is not clear at present and their affect on activity in the SC is unknown. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to determine the origin, organization, and functional characteristics of auditory corticotectal projections. Of the auditory cortices (AI; AII; Fields A, P, and VP), only the auditory subregion of the banks of the anterior ectosylvian sulcus (Field AES) showed a robust anatomical projection to the SC. These data were confirmed physiologically: auditory neurons in Field AES projected to the SC and auditory SC neurons responded to stimulation of the Field AES. However, neither anatomical nor physiological techniques revealed a clear topographic relationship between the Field AES and the SC but suggested instead a diffuse and extremely divergent/convergent projection. Stimulation and cryoblockade of Field AES demonstrated the excitatory nature of this corticotectal pathway, whose influence was most evident on SC responses to stimuli of reduced intensity. Given the short latency of this ear-cortex-SC circuit and its excitatory influence on unimodal as well as on multisensory auditory neurons, it seems likely that Field AES plays a significant role in facilitating SC responses to auditory stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology
  • Auditory Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology


  • Horseradish Peroxidase