Functional subdivisions in the auditory cortex of the guinea pig

J Comp Neurol. 1989 Apr 22;282(4):473-88. doi: 10.1002/cne.902820402.


The auditory fields in the cortex of the guinea pig were investigated with microelectrode mapping techniques. Pure tones of varying frequencies and amplitudes were used as acoustic stimuli. Mainly, multiunit activity was recorded. A large tonotopic area is found in the anterior half of the auditory cortex. This area is named the anterior field (field A). Frequency tuning curves of multiunits in field A are generally narrow. Responses to tone stimuli are strong, and latencies are short. Low best frequencies are represented rostrally, high best frequencies caudally. The tonotopy is continuous and quite regular. Field A is narrow dorsally and becomes gradually broader ventrally. Correspondingly, the isofrequency lines slightly diverge from dorsal to ventral. Caudal to the first field, there is a second, smaller tonotopic area. It lies in the dorsal half of the posterior auditory cortex and is therefore named the dorsocaudal field (field DC). The frequency specificity of the cell clusters in this area is as strong as in field A, but the tonotopy is discontinuous: In the dorsal half of field DC, high best frequencies (16-32 kHz) are represented rostrally; the low frequencies (0.5-2.8 kHz) are represented immediately caudal to the high frequencies, while the intermediate frequencies are missing. Ventrally in field DC, the frequency representation is more complete. Except for this discontinuous map, we did not notice any differences between fields A and DC. A third tonotopic field was found rostral to field A. This field extends over a surface of less than 1 mm2 and was named the small field (field S). It contains a complete representation of the frequency range; high best frequencies are located rostrally, low frequencies caudally. The response latencies are slightly longer in field S than in fields A or DC, and the tuning curves are broader. A broad strip of nontonotopic cortex (auditory belt) surrounds fields A and DC caudally. We subdivided this area into the dorsocaudal and the ventrocaudal belt region. In both areas, tuning curves are often broad, and response latencies are longer than in the tonotopic cortex. In the dorsocaudal belt, most multiunits react with a phasic on-response to pure tones; in the ventrocaudal belt, tonic responses occur more frequently. Another nontonotopic region is located in the anterior auditory cortex, rostral to the tonotopic fields, and was therefore named the rostral belt. Tuning curves in this area are broad, latencies are short, and response thresholds are often high. In the discussion, the guinea pig is compared with other mammalian species.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs / physiology*
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes