Congenital deafness affects deep layers in primary and secondary auditory cortex

Christoph Berger, Daniela Kühne, Verena Scheper, Andrej Kral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Congenital deafness leads to functional deficits in the auditory cortex for which early cochlear implantation can effectively compensate. Most of these deficits have been demonstrated functionally. Furthermore, the majority of previous studies on deafness have involved the primary auditory cortex; knowledge of higher-order areas is limited to effects of cross-modal reorganization. In this study, we compared the cortical cytoarchitecture of four cortical areas in adult hearing and congenitally deaf cats (CDCs): the primary auditory field A1, two secondary auditory fields, namely the dorsal zone and second auditory field (A2); and a reference visual association field (area 7) in the same section stained either using Nissl or SMI-32 antibodies. The general cytoarchitectonic pattern and the area-specific characteristics in the auditory cortex remained unchanged in animals with congenital deafness. Whereas area 7 did not differ between the groups investigated, all auditory fields were slightly thinner in CDCs, this being caused by reduced thickness of layers IV-VI. The study documents that, while the cytoarchitectonic patterns are in general independent of sensory experience, reduced layer thickness is observed in both primary and higher-order auditory fields in layer IV and infragranular layers. The study demonstrates differences in effects of congenital deafness between supragranular and other cortical layers, but similar dystrophic effects in all investigated auditory fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3110-3125
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • cortical column
  • cochlear implant
  • development
  • hearing loss
  • higher-order areas
  • infragranular layers


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