Salicylate-induced frequency-map reorganization in four subfields of the mouse auditory cortex

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Salicylate is the active ingredient in aspirin, and in high-doses it is used as an experimental tool to induce transient hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. These salicylate-induced perceptual disturbances are associated with tonotopic-map reorganization and neural activity modulation, and such neural correlates have been examined in the central auditory pathway, including the auditory cortex (AC). Although previous studies have reported that salicylate induces increases in noise-burst-evoked neural responses and reorganization of tonotopic maps in the primary AC, little is known about the effects of salicylate on other frequency-organized AC subfields such as the anterior auditory, secondary auditory, and dorsomedial fields. Therefore, to examine salicylate-induced spatiotemporal effects on AC subfields, we measured sound-evoked neural activity in mice before and after the administration of sodium salicylate (SS, 200 mg/kg), using flavoprotein auto-fluorescence imaging. SS-treatment gradually reduced responses driven by tone-bursts with lower (≤8 kHz) and higher (≥25 kHz) frequencies over 3 h, whereas evoked responses to tone-bursts within middle-range frequencies (e.g., 12 and 16 kHz) were sustained and unchanged in the four subfields. Additionally, in each of the four subfields, SS-treatment induced similar reorganization of tonotopic maps, and the response areas selectively driven by the middle-range frequencies were profoundly expanded. Our results indicate that the SS-induced tonotopic map reorganizations in each of the four AC subfields were similar, and only the extent of the activated areas responsive to tone-bursts with specific frequencies was subfield-dependent. Thus, we expect that examining cortical reorganization induced by SS may open the possibility of new treatments aimed at altering cortical reorganization into the normative functional organization.

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