Interaction of influences from the auditory and somatosensory afferent systems on neurons of the primary auditory cortex

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In experiments on anesthetized cats, 80 neurons of the primary auditory cortex (A1) were studied. Within the examined neuronal population, 66 cells (or 82.5%) were monosensory units, i.e., they responded only to acoustic stimulations (sound clicks and tones); 8 (10.1%) neurons responded to acoustic stimulation and electrocutaneous stimulation (ECS); the rest of the units (7.4%) were either trisensory (responded also to visual stimulation) or responded only to non-acoustic stimulations. In the A1 area, neurons responding to ECS with rather short latencies (15.6–17.0 msec) were found. ECS usually suppressed the impulse neuronal responses evoked by sound clicks. It is concluded that somatosensory afferent signals cause predominantly an inhibitory effect on transmission of an acoustic afferent volley to the auditory cortex at a subcortical level; however, rare cases of excitatory convergence of acoustic and somatosensory inputs to A1 neurons were observed.

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