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Publication Detail
Mind the Gap: Two Dissociable Mechanisms of Temporal Processing in the Auditory System.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Anderson LA, Linden JF
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1977, 1995
  • Journal:
    The Journal of Neuroscience
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • Print ISSN:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Auditory, gap detection, hearing, mouse, temporal processing, thalamus
  • Notes:
    Copyright © 2016 Anderson and Linden This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),which permits unrestricted use,distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
High temporal acuity of auditory processing underlies perception of speech and other rapidly varying sounds. A common measure of auditory temporal acuity in humans is the threshold for detection of brief gaps in noise. Gap-detection deficits, observed in developmental disorders, are considered evidence for "sluggish" auditory processing. Here we show, in a mouse model of gap-detection deficits, that auditory brain sensitivity to brief gaps in noise can be impaired even without a general loss of central auditory temporal acuity. Extracellular recordings in three different subdivisions of the auditory thalamus in anesthetized mice revealed a stimulus-specific, subdivision-specific deficit in thalamic sensitivity to brief gaps in noise in experimental animals relative to controls. Neural responses to brief gaps in noise were reduced, but responses to other rapidly changing stimuli unaffected, in lemniscal and nonlemniscal (but not polysensory) subdivisions of the medial geniculate body. Through experiments and modeling, we demonstrate that the observed deficits in thalamic sensitivity to brief gaps in noise arise from reduced neural population activity following noise offsets, but not onsets. These results reveal dissociable sound-onset-sensitive and sound-offset-sensitive channels underlying auditory temporal processing, and suggest that gap-detection deficits can arise from specific impairment of the sound-offset-sensitive channel. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The experimental and modeling results reported here suggest a new hypothesis regarding the mechanisms of temporal processing in the auditory system. Using a mouse model of auditory temporal processing deficits, we demonstrate the existence of specific abnormalities in auditory thalamic activity following sound offsets, but not sound onsets. These results reveal dissociable sound-onset-sensitive and sound-offset-sensitive mechanisms underlying auditory processing of temporally varying sounds. Furthermore, the findings suggest that auditory temporal processing deficits, such as impairments in gap-in-noise detection, could arise from reduced brain sensitivity to sound offsets alone.
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