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Intercollicular commissural connections refine the representation of sound frequency and level in the auditory midbrain

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Llwyd Orton, Professor Adrian ReesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Connections unifying hemispheric sensory representations of vision and touch occur in cortex, but for hearing, commissural connections earlier in the pathway may be important. The brainstem auditory pathways course bilaterally to the inferior colliculi (ICs). Each IC represents one side of auditory space but they are interconnected by a commissure. By deactivating one IC in guinea pig with cooling or microdialysis of procaine, and recording neural activity to sound in the other, we found that commissural input influences fundamental aspects of auditory processing. The areas of nonV frequency response areas (FRAs) were modulated, but the areas of almost all V-shaped FRAs were not. The supra-threshold sensitivity of rate level functions decreased during deactivation and the ability to signal changes in sound level was decremented. This commissural enhancement suggests the ICs should be viewed as a single entity in which the representation of sound in each is governed by the other.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Orton LD, Rees A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: eLife

Year: 2014

Volume: 3

Pages: 1-17

Online publication date: 18/11/2014

Acceptance date: 15/10/2014

Date deposited: 06/08/2015

ISSN (electronic): 2050-084X

Publisher: eLife Sciences Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.7554/eLife.03764


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/J008680/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council