Task-dependent and cell-type-specific Fos enhancement in rat sensory cortices during audio-visual discrimination

Shuzo Sakata, Takashi Kitsukawa, Takeshi Kaneko, Tetsuo Yamamori, Yoshio Sakurai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Attention modulates neural activities in sensory cortices. Because cortical neurons are composed of many types of neurons, the activities of these different types of cells can exhibit different modifications depending on whether an animal pays attention to a particular sensory stimulus or not. In the present study, we examined which types of cortical neurons change their activities in rats during one of two types of audio-visual discrimination (AVD) tasks by using Fos immunohistochemistry. In the tasks, both auditory and visual stimuli were simultaneously presented but only one of the two modalities was task-relevant. Once the rats had learned one of the AVD tasks, presenting only relevant sensory stimuli was sufficient for them to perform the task correctly. These results suggest that the rats indeed attended to the relevant stimuli during the performance of the tasks. We found that Fos expression in the primary auditory and visual cortices was enhanced in a task-dependent manner during the performance of the AVD tasks. The enhancement of Fos expression depended on the behavioural significance of the stimulus in the tasks. Moreover, using double immunohistochemistry of Fos and a cell type-specific marker protein (phosphate-activated glutaminase, nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein, parvalbumin, calretinin or somatostatin), the task-dependent Fos expression was observed preferentially in excitatory neurons but not in inhibitory interneurons. These results suggest that modulation in cortical excitatory neurons might have critical roles in selecting and processing behaviourally relevant sensory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-743
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2002


  • auditory cortex
  • excitatory neuron
  • interneuron
  • selective attention
  • visual cortex


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