The anterior ectosylvian sulcal auditory field in the cat: I. An electrophysiological study of its relationship to surrounding auditory cortical fields

Janine C. Clarey, Dexter R F Irvine

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The extent of a region containing acoustically responsive neurons within the anterior ectosylvian sulcus and its relationship to surrounding gyral auditory cortical fields was examined in chloralose‐anaesthetized cats. Multiple microelectrode penetrations were made orthogonal to the middle and anterior ectosylvian gyral surfaces, and longer penetrations were made into the dorsal and ventral banks and fundus of the anterior ectosylvian sulcus. The quantitative and qualitative auditory response characteristics of neurons and neuron clusters in the sulcal banks and surrounding regions were mapped in detail, and the degree of overlap of auditory and visual neurons within the sulcus was determined by routinely testing for responsiveness to a gross light flash. The detailed results from three animals and a summary of all penetrations into the sulcus are presented. The anterior ectosylvian sulcal field (Field AES) lay deep within the banks and fundus of the posterior three quarters of the sulcus. A combination of changes in the auditory response characteristics of neurons (i.e., in optimal stimulus, latency, and frequency tuning), and the presence of visually responsive cells, distinguished this field from surrounding fields. The distinction between the anterior ectosylvian field and extensions of the nearby tonotopic fields (i.e., primary and anterior auditory fields) into the dorsal and ventral banks of the dorsoposterior sector of the sulcus was readily made on the basis of these characteristics. The distinction between the anterior ectosylvian field and extensions of the second auditory field into the ventral bank of the middle sector of the sulcus was more difficult and there were differences between animals in the transition between these fields. Anterior ectosylvian sulcal field responses did not extend into the dorsal bank in anterior parts of the sulcus but were restricted to fundal regions, an observation consistent with the presence of the fourth somatosensory field in the dorsal bank of this sector of the sulcus. The majority of penetrations into the sulcus revealed coextensive auditory and visual activity, an observation apparently at variance with the identification of a purely visual field in this region. Barbiturate anaesthesia, which has been used in experiments demonstrating an anterior ectosylvian visual area, was found to have a depressing effect on auditory responses within the anterior ectosylvian sulcal field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-303
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990


  • anterior ectosylvian sulcus
  • auditory cortex
  • auditory responses
  • microelectrode mapping

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