Postnatal maturation of primary auditory cortex in the mustached bat, Pteronotus parnellii

M. Vater, E. Foeller, E. C. Mora, F. Coro, I. J. Russell, M. Kössl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The primary auditory cortex (AI) of adult Pteronotus parnellii features a foveal representation of the second harmonic constant frequency (CF2) echolocation call component. In the corresponding Doppler-shifted constant frequency (DSCF) area, the 61 kHz range is over-represented for extraction of frequency-shift information in CF2 echoes. To assess to which degree AI postnatal maturation depends on active echolocation or/and reflects ongoing cochlear maturation, cortical neurons were recorded in juveniles up to postnatal day P29, before the bats are capable of active foraging. At P1-2, neurons in posterior AI are tuned sensitively to low frequencies (22-45 dB SPL, 28-35 kHz). Within the prospective DSCF area, neurons had insensitive responses (>60 dB SPL) to frequencies <40 kHz and lacked sensitive tuning curve tips. Up to P10, when bats do not yet actively echolocate, tonotopy is further developed and DSCF neurons respond to frequencies of 51-57 kHz with maximum tuning sharpness (Q10dB) of 57. Between P11 and 20, the frequency representation in AI includes higher frequencies anterior and dorsal to the DSCF area. More multipeaked neurons (33%) are found than at older age. In the oldest group, DSCF neurons are tuned to frequencies close to 61 kHz with Q10dB values ≤212, and threshold sensitivity, tuning sharpness and cortical latencies are adult-like. The data show that basic aspects of cortical tonotopy are established before the bats actively echolocate. Maturation of tonotopy, increase of tuning sharpness, and upward shift in the characteristic frequency of DSCF neurons appear to strongly reflect cochlear maturation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2339-2354
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010


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