February 24, 2021

Modulation of auditory responses by visual inputs in the mouse auditory cortex

So far, our understanding on the role of the auditory cortex (ACX) in processing visual information has been limited to infragranular layers of the ACX, which have been shown to respond to visual stimulation. Here, we investigate the neurons in supragranular layers of the mouse ACX using 2-photon calcium imaging. Contrary to previous reports, here we show that more than 20% of responding neurons in layer2/3 of the ACX respond to full-field visual stimulation. These responses occur by both excitation and hyperpolarization. The primary ACX (A1) has a greater proportion of visual responses by hyperpolarization compared to excitation likely driven by inhibitory neurons of the infragranular layers of the ACX rather than local layer 2/3 inhibitory neurons. Further, we found that more than 60% of neurons in the layer 2/3 of A1 are multisensory in nature. We also show the presence of multisensory neurons in close proximity to exclusive auditory neurons and that there is a reduction in the noise correlations of the recorded neurons during multisensory presentation. This is evidence in favour of deep and intricate visual influence over auditory processing. The results have strong implications for decoding visual influences over the early auditory cortical regions.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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