State-dependent and cell type-specific temporal processing in auditory thalamocortical circuit

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Ongoing spontaneous activity in cortical circuits defines cortical states, but it still remains unclear how cortical states shape sensory processing across cortical laminae and what type of response properties emerge in the cortex. Recording neural activity from the auditory cortex (AC) and medial geniculate body (MGB) simultaneously with electrical stimulations of the basal fore brain (BF) in urethane - anesthetized rats, we investigated state - dependent spontaneous and auditory-evoked activities in the auditory thalamocortical circuit. BF stimulation induced a short-lasting desynchronized state, with sparser firing and increased power at gamma frequency in superficial layers. In this desynchronized state, the reduction in onset response variability in both AC and MGB was accompanied by cell type-specific firing, with decreased responses of cortical broad spiking cells, but increased responses of cortical narrow spiking cells. This onset response was followed by distinct temporal evolution in AC, with quicker rebound firing in infragranular layers. This temporal profile was associated with improved processing of temporally structured stimuli across AC layers to varying degrees, but not in MGB. Thus, the reduction in response variability during the desynchronized state can be seen subcortically whereas the improvement of temporal tuning emerges across AC layers, emphasizing the importance of state - dependent intra cortical processing in hearing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number18873
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016


  • cortical circuits
  • cortical state
  • auditory cortex
  • hearing


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