Functional organization of ferret auditory cortex.
Bizley JK., Nodal FR., Nelken I., King AJ.
We characterized the functional organization of different fields within the auditory cortex of anaesthetized ferrets. As previously reported, the primary auditory cortex, A1, and the anterior auditory field, AAF, are located on the middle ectosylvian gyrus. These areas exhibited a similar tonotopic organization, with high frequencies represented at the dorsal tip of the gyrus and low frequencies more ventrally, but differed in that AAF neurons had shorter response latencies than those in A1. On the basis of differences in frequency selectivity, temporal response properties and thresholds, we identified four more, previously undescribed fields. Two of these are located on the posterior ectosylvian gyrus and were tonotopically organized. Neurons in these areas responded robustly to tones, but had longer latencies, more sustained responses and a higher incidence of non-monotonic rate-level functions than those in the primary fields. Two further auditory fields, which were not tonotopically organized, were found on the anterior ectosylvian gyrus. Neurons in the more dorsal anterior area gave short-latency, transient responses to tones and were generally broadly tuned with a preference for high (>8 kHz) frequencies. Neurons in the other anterior area were frequently unresponsive to tones, but often responded vigorously to broadband noise. The presence of both tonotopic and non-tonotopic auditory cortical fields indicates that the organization of ferret auditory cortex is comparable to that seen in other mammals.