- AMER PHYSIOLOGICAL SOC
Primary auditory cortex (A1) neurons are believed not to carry much information about tonal offsets because A1 neurons in barbiturate- anesthetized animals are usually described as having only onset responses. We investigated tonal offset responses in comparison with onset responses in the caudal part of A1 of awake cats. Cells responding to both onsets and offsets were commonly found (59.2% of recorded cells). Offset responses usually co-occurred with phasic onset responses or phasic components of sustained responses. These ON-OFF cells had diverse combinations of offset- and onset-frequency-receptive field (FRF): offset-FRF was similar to onset-FRF, or narrower, wider, lower, or higher than onset-FRF. The distribution of FRF patterns was diffuse with no boundaries between the different FRF-pattern groups. The onset- versus offset-FRF pattern of each cell remained unchanged across multiple stimulus intensities. Mean offset response showed similar peak latency (19.5 vs. 21.5ms), longer half-decay time (74.5 vs. 48.5 ms), and lower peak amplitude (20.4 vs. 35.9 spikes/s) compared with the mean onset response. Although offset responses were facilitated when preceded by the suppression of spike activity, they were still elicited without preceding spike suppression. It is concluded that neurons showing paired onset and offset responses are predominant in the caudal A1. Their frequency-filtering property is usually not static but dynamic, changing between sound onsets and offsets. Offset responses are similarly precise and salient as onset responses for effectively encoding sound offsets. They may be elicited as active spike responses to sound offset rather than simple rebound facilitation.
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