Deactivation of Association Cortices Disrupted the Congruence of Visual and Auditory Receptive Fields in Superior Colliculus Neurons

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Physiological and behavioral studies in cats show that corticotectal inputs play a critical role in the information-processing capabilities of neurons in the deeper layers of the superior colliculus (SC). Among them, the sensory inputs from functionally related associational cortices are especially critical for SC multisensory integration. However, the underlying mechanism supporting this influence is still unclear. Here, results demonstrate that deactivation of relevant cortices can both dislocate SC visual and auditory spatial receptive fields (RFs) and decrease their overall size, resulting in reduced alignment. Further analysis demonstrated that this RF separation is significantly correlated with the decrement of neurons’ multisensory enhancement and is most pronounced in low stimulus intensity conditions. In addition, cortical deactivation could influence the degree of stimulus effectiveness, thereby illustrating the means by which higher order cortices may modify the multisensory activity of SC.

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