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Multisensory convergence in auditory cortex, I. Cortical connections of the caudal superior temporal plane in macaque monkeys

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Abstract

The caudal medial auditory area (CM) has anatomical and physiological features consistent with its role as a first-stage (or “belt”) auditory association cortex. It is also a site of multisensory convergence, with robust somatosensory and auditory responses. In this study, we investigated the cerebral cortical sources of somatosensory and auditory inputs to CM by injecting retrograde tracers in macaque monkeys. A companion paper describes the thalamic connections of CM (Hackett et al., J. Comp. Neurol. [this issue]). The likely cortical sources of somatosensory input to CM were the adjacent retroinsular cortex (area Ri) and granular insula (Ig). In addition, CM had reliable connections with areas Tpt and TPO, which are sites of multisensory integration. CM also had topographic connections with other auditory areas. As expected, connections with adjacent caudal auditory areas were stronger than connections with rostral areas. Surprisingly, the connections with the core were concentrated along its medial side, suggesting that there may be a medial-lateral division of function within the core. Additional injections into caudal lateral auditory area (CL) and Tpt showed similar connections with Ri, Ig, and TPO. In contrast to CM injections, these lateral injections had inputs from parietal area 7a and had a preferential connection with the lateral (gyral) part of Tpt. Taken together, the findings indicate that CM may receive somatosensory input from nearby areas along the fundus of the lateral sulcus. The differential connections of CM compared with adjacent areas provide additional evidence for the functional specialization of the individual auditory belt areas. J. Comp. Neurol. 502:894–923, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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