Fast propagating waves within the rodent auditory cortex

Antonia Reimer, Peter Hubka, Andreas K. Engel, Andrej Kral*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Central processing of acoustic signals is assumed to take place in a stereotypical spatial and temporal pattern involving different fields of auditory cortex. So far, cortical propagating waves representing such patterns have mainly been demonstrated by optical imaging, repeatedly in the visual and somatosensory cortex. In this study, the surface of rat auditory cortex was mapped by recording local field potentials (LFPs) in response to a broadband acoustic stimulus. From the peak amplitudes of LFPs, cortical activation maps were constructed over 4 cortical auditory fields. Whereas response onset had same latencies across primary auditory field (A1), anterior auditory field (AAF), and ventral auditory field and longer latencies in posterior auditory field, activation maps revealed a reproducible wavelike pattern of activity propagating for ∼45 ms poststimulus through all cortical fields. The movement observed started with 2 waves within the primary auditory fields A1 and AAF moving from ventral to dorsal followed by a motion from rostral to caudal, passing continuously through higher-order fields. The pattern of propagating waves was well reproducible and showed only minor changes if different anesthetics were used. The results question the classical " hierarchical" model of cortical areas and demonstrate that the different fields process incoming information as a functional unit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-177
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia
  • Cortical hierarchy
  • Cortical organization
  • Spatiotemporal pattern
  • Traveling wave


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