Contrast gain control in mouse auditory cortex.
Cooke JE., King AJ., Willmore BDB., Schnupp JWH.
The neocortex is thought to employ a number of canonical computations, but little is known about whether these computations rely on shared mechanisms across different neural populations. In recent years, the mouse has emerged as a powerful model organism for the dissection of the circuits and mechanisms underlying various aspects of neural processing, and therefore provides an important avenue for research into putative canonical computations. One such computation is contrast gain control, the systematic adjustment of neural gain in accordance with the contrast of sensory input, which helps to construct neural representations that are robust to the presence of background stimuli. Here, we characterized contrast gain control in mouse auditory cortex. We performed laminar extracellular recordings in the auditory cortex of the anesthetized mouse while varying the contrast of the sensory input. We observed that an increase in stimulus contrast resulted in a compensatory reduction in the gain of neural responses, leading to representations in mouse auditory cortex that are largely contrast invariant. Contrast gain control was present in all cortical layers, but was found to be strongest in deep layers, indicating that intracortical mechanisms may contribute to these gain changes. These results lay a foundation for investigations into the mechanisms underlying contrast adaptation in mouse auditory cortex.