Reorganization of brain outputs in deaf cats

Reorganization of brain outputs in deaf cats
Distribution of corticotectal projections by modality in the cortex for the animals described in the current study (Deaf). Data from hearing animals previously reported by Butler and colleagues (2016) are included for comparison. Credit: Butler, Sunstrum & Lomber, JNeurosci (2018)

Cats deaf from an early age have increased outgoing connections from the auditory cortex to a midbrain region responsible for directing the animal to a particular location in its environment. The study, published in JNeurosci, is the first to examine the reorganization of outputs from the sensory cortex following hearing loss.

Although mammals are able to see and hear early in life, the neural machinery that supports these senses develops slowly in response to input from the outside world. Such experience-dependent plasticity helps to fine-tune the animal's perceptual abilities to its environment. Without this input, the brain regions that would normally process the deprived sense are instead recruited for other purposes.

Compared to hearing cats, Blake Butler and colleagues found that cats made deaf in the first weeks of life had reduced connections from the anterior ectosylvian sulcus of the to the superior colliculus (SC) of the midbrain. However, the deaf cats had greater connections from other auditory areas to the SC, resulting in an overall larger input. Connections from limbic brain regions to the SC were also increased in deaf cats, which may support enhanced information processing to complement the intact senses.


Explore further

Study shows auditory cortex of hearing and deaf people are nearly identical

More information: Modified origins of cortical projections to the superior colliculus in the deaf: Dispersion of auditory efferents, JNeurosci (2018). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2858-17.2018
Journal information: Journal of Neuroscience

Citation: Reorganization of brain outputs in deaf cats (2018, April 2) retrieved 17 October 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-brain-outputs-deaf-cats.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
7 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more