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Keywords:

  • intrinsic signals;
  • receptive fields;
  • representational maps;
  • isofrequency representation;
  • characteristic frequency;
  • cortical plasticity;
  • hearing aids

Abstract

We measured reflectance changes by means of optical imaging of intrinsic signals to study the effects of acute electrical cochlear stimulation on the topography of the cat auditory cortex. After single-pulse electrical stimulation at selected sites of a multichannel implant device, we found topographically restricted response areas representing mainly the high-frequency range in Al. Systematic variation of the stimulation pairs and thus of the cochlear frequency sites revealed a systematic and corresponding shift of the response areas that matched the underlying frequency organization. Intensity functions were usually very steep. Increasingly higher stimulation currents evoked increasingly larger response areas, resulting in decreasing spatial, i.e. cochleotopic, selectivity; however, we observed only slight positional shifts of the focal zones of activity. Electrophysiological recordings of local field potential maps in the same individual animals revealed close correspondence of the locations of the cortical response areas. The results suggest that the method of optical imaging can be used to map response areas evoked by electrical cochlear stimulation, thereby maintaining a profound cochleotopic selectivity. Further experiments in chronically stimulated animals will shed more light on the degree of functional and reorganizational capacities of the primary auditory cortex and could be beneficial for our understanding of the treatment of profound deafness.