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Multiple non-auditory cortical regions innervate the auditory midbrain

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bas OlthofORCiD, Professor Adrian ReesORCiD, Dr Sasha Gartside



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Society for Neuroscience, 2019.

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Our perceptual experience of sound depends on the integration of multiple sensory and cognitive domains, but the networks sub-serving this integration are unclear. Connections linking different cortical domains have been described, however we do not know the extent to which connections also exist between multiple cortical domains and subcortical structures. Retrograde tracing in adult male rats (Rattus norvegicus) revealed that the inferior colliculus – the auditory midbrain - not only receives dense descending projections as previously established from the auditory cortex, but also the visual, somatosensory, motor, and prefrontal cortices. While all these descending connections are bilateral, those from sensory areas show a more pronounced ipsilateral dominance than those from motor and prefrontal cortices. Injections of anterograde tracers into the cortical areas identified by retrograde tracing confirmed those findings and revealed cortical fibres terminating in all three subdivisions of the inferior colliculus. Immunolabelling showed that the terminals target both GABAergic inhibitory and putative glutamatergic excitatory neurons. These findings demonstrate that auditory perception and behaviour is served by a network that includes extensive descending connections to the midbrain from sensory, behavioural, and executive cortices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Olthof BMJ, Rees A, Gartside SE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2019

Volume: 39

Issue: 45

Pages: 8916-8928

Online publication date: 20/09/2019

Acceptance date: 21/08/2019

Date deposited: 27/08/2019

ISSN (print): 0270-6474

ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience


DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1436-19.2019


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Funder referenceFunder name
BB/P003249/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)