Abstract

The suprathreshold tonotopic organization of rat and guinea pig auditory cortex was investigated using intrinsic signal optical imaging through a thinned skull. Optical imaging revealed that suprathreshold pure sine wave tone stimulation (25–40 dB) evoked activity over large cortical areas that were tonotopically organized. Three-dimensional surface plots of the activated areas revealed “patchy” auditory-evoked activity consisting of numerous local peaks and valleys building to a maximum. Subsequent detailed electrophysiological mapping in the same subjects confirmed the localization of auditory-evoked activity based on optical imaging, including responses to a test frequency at cortical loci more than 2 octaves away from the threshold-defined isofrequency contour. The success of this technique in visualizing auditory cortex functional organization at suprathreshold stimulus levels will allow for future investigations of auditory cortex frequency representation. including representational plasticity induced by a variety of experimental manipulations.