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Journal Article

Anatomy of the auditory thalamocortical system of the guinea pig.


Redies,  H.
Abteilung Neurobiologie, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;


Brandner,  S.
Abteilung Neurobiologie, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;


Creutzfeldt,  O. D.
Abteilung Neurobiologie, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Redies, H., Brandner, S., & Creutzfeldt, O. D. (1989). Anatomy of the auditory thalamocortical system of the guinea pig. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 282(4), 489-511. doi:10.1002/cne.902820403.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-4BC3-3
We investigated the projection from the medial geniculate body (MG) to the tonotopic fields (the anterior field A, the dorsocaudal field DC, the small field S) and to the nontonotopic ventrocaudal belt in the auditory cortex of the guinea pig. The auditory fields were first delimited in electrophysiological experiments with microelectrode mapping techniques. Then, small quantities of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and/or fluorescent retrograde tracers were injected into the sites of interest, and the thalamus was checked for labeled cells. The anterior field A receives its main thalamic input from the ventral nucleus of the MG (MGv). The projection is topographically organized. Roughly, the caudal part of the MGv innervates the rostral part of field A and vice versa. After injection of tracer into low or medium best-frequency sites in A, we also found a topographic gradient along the isofrequency contours: the dorsal (ventral) part of a cortical isofrequency strip receives afferents from the rostral (caudal) portions of the corresponding thalamic isofrequency band. However, it is not so obvious whether such a gradient exists also in the high-frequency part of the projection. A second, weaker projection to field A originates in a magnocellular nucleus that is situated caudomedially in the MG and was therefore named the caudomedial nucleus. The dorsocaudal field DC receives input from the same nuclei as the anterior field, but the location of the labeled cells in the MGv is different. This was demonstrated by injection of different tracers into sites with like best frequencies in fields A and DC, respectively. After injection of HRP into the 1-2-kHz isofrequency strip in field A and injection of Nuclear Yellow (NY) into the 1-2-kHz site in field DC, the labeled cells in the MGv form one continuous array that runs from caudal to rostral over the whole extent of the MGv. The anterior part of this array consists of NY-labeled cells; i.e., it projects to field DC. The caudal part is formed by HRP-labeled cells; i.e., it innervates field A. These findings indicate that there is only one continuous tonotopic map in the MGv. This map is split when projected onto the cortex so that two adjacent tonotopic fields (A and DC) result. The cortical maps are rotated relative to the thalamic map in that rostral portions of the MGv project to caudal parts of the tonotopic cortex and vice versa. The small field S receives its main thalamic input from a region situated in the rostral half of the MG medial to the ventral nucleus (the rostromedial MG). After injection of tracer into the ventrocaudal belt, labeled cells were found dorsal, lateral, and ventral to the MGv. These cells form a continuous band that surrounds the MGv like a shell. A second population of labeled neurons was found in the caudomedial nucleus of the MG. Similarities and differences between the auditory thalamocortical systems in the guinea pig and other mammalian species are discussed.