Spatial receptive field organization of multisensory neurons and its impact on multisensory interactions.

Krueger J, Royal DW, Fister MC, Wallace MT
Hear Res. 2009 258 (1-2): 47-54

PMID: 19698773 · PMCID: PMC2787656 · DOI:10.1016/j.heares.2009.08.003

Previous work has established that the spatial receptive fields (SRFs) of multisensory neurons in the cerebral cortex are strikingly heterogeneous, and that SRF architecture plays an important deterministic role in sensory responsiveness and multisensory integrative capacities. The initial part of this contribution serves to review these findings detailing the key features of SRF organization in cortical multisensory populations by highlighting work from the cat anterior ectosylvian sulcus (AES). In addition, we have recently conducted parallel studies designed to examine SRF architecture in the classic model for multisensory studies, the cat superior colliculus (SC), and we present some of the preliminary observations from the SC here. An examination of individual SC neurons revealed marked similarities between their unisensory (i.e., visual and auditory) SRFs, as well as between these unisensory SRFs and the multisensory SRF. Despite these similarities within individual neurons, different SC neurons had SRFs that ranged from a single area of greatest activation (hot spot) to multiple and spatially discrete hot spots. Similar to cortical multisensory neurons, the interactive profile of SC neurons was correlated strongly to SRF architecture, closely following the principle of inverse effectiveness. Thus, large and often superadditive multisensory response enhancements were typically seen at SRF locations where visual and auditory stimuli were weakly effective. Conversely, subadditive interactions were seen at SRF locations where stimuli were highly effective. Despite the unique functions characteristic of cortical and subcortical multisensory circuits, our results suggest a strong mechanistic interrelationship between SRF microarchitecture and integrative capacity.

MeSH Terms (15)

Animals Auditory Perception Cats Cerebral Cortex Hearing Models, Biological Models, Neurological Neurons Sensation Sensory Thresholds Space Perception Superior Colliculi Time Factors Vision, Ocular Visual Perception

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