Recent advances in cortical prosthetics relied on intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) to activate the cortical neural network and convey information to the brain. Here we show that activity elicited by low-current ICMS modulates induced cortical responses to a sensory stimulus in the primary auditory cortex (A1). A1 processes sensory stimuli in a stereotyped manner, encompassing two types of activity: evoked activity (phase-locked to the stimulus) and induced activity (non-phase-locked to the stimulus). Time-frequency analyses of extracellular potentials recorded from all layers and the surface of the auditory cortex of anesthetized guinea pigs of both sexes showed that ICMS during the processing of a transient acoustic stimulus differentially affected the evoked and induced response. Specifically, ICMS enhanced the long-latency-induced component, mimicking physiological gain increasing top-down feedback processes. Furthermore, the phase of the local field potential at the time of stimulation was predictive of the response amplitude for acoustic stimulation, ICMS, as well as combined acoustic and electric stimulation. Together, this was interpreted as a sign that the response to electrical stimulation was integrated into the ongoing cortical processes in contrast to substituting them. Consequently, ICMS modulated the cortical response to a sensory stimulus. We propose such targeted modulation of cortical activity (as opposed to a stimulation that substitutes the ongoing processes) as an alternative approach for cortical prostheses.
- auditory cortex
- cortical implant