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Title: The lost maps : two-photon investigations of the fine scale organization of auditory cortex
Author: Panniello, Mariangela
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 5114
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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The spatial arrangement of neuronal responses in primary auditory cortex (A1) has so far been investigated by using microelectrode recording techniques or imaging of the intrinsic signal, which led to controversial results, at present still discussed. On the other hand, two-photon calcium imaging allows us to investigate the cortical functions at an unprecedented level of spatial detail, and has recently offered new insight into the fine-scale organization of frequency responses in A1. In this thesis, I used two-photon calcium imaging to compare, for the first time, the fine-scale cortical representation of sound frequency to that of two other sound features, crucial for survival and communication in all mammals: differences in intensity between the two ears (interaural level differences; ILDs), and frequency modulation (FM). I found that most neurons in layers II-III of the mouse A1 were tuned to ILDs favouring the contralateral ear, but midline and ipsilateral tuning were present too. Binaural preferences were heterogeneously distributed in space, both on the fine scale (within ∼ 200 μm) and on the global one (up to ∼ 1 mm). Moreover, A1 neurons were mostly tuned to slow FM sweeps within the range of those used in species-specific calls. Cells activated by similar rates tended to be spatially proximal, indicating a level of local organization similar to the one I found for frequency tuning, and higher than that of ILD responses. Finally, I set the groundwork for two-photon studies of the A1 of the ferret, by presenting the first evidence of the microscopic organization of the tonotopic map in this species. My results shed light on some long-held questions about the response properties of A1, and confirm two-photon imaging as a powerful tool for investigating the processing of sensory signals in the cortex of both small and large mammals.
Supervisor: Walker, Kerry ; King, Andrew Sponsor: Newton Abraham Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neurosciences ; cerebral cortex ; two photon imaging