3. Neural mechanisms of cross-modal plasticity in Hearing Impairment (animal model)

Beneficiary: Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH), Germany

Congenital hearing loss deprives the brain from a sensory stimulus and leads to widespread adaptations, including take over of auditory brain resources by visual and somatosensory systems. In previous studies we defined cross-modal reorganization in numerous auditory areas, including the posterior auditory field and dorsal auditory cortex. Also, several critical periods were defined based on chronic cochlear implant stimulation of deaf animals by our team. Recently, we investigated how the critical period and the cross-modal reorganization interdepend. While our current data suggest that corticocortical interactions in response to auditory stimuli are weakened in deaf cats, it remains unclear whether this is counter-regulated by an increase in coupling to visual or somatosensory areas. For this goal we recorded activity in several higher-order auditory areas and visual and somatosensory areas in spontaneous ongoing activity, but also in response to an auditory, visual and somatosensory stimulus. The goal of the applicant is to analyze this activity and describe the responses in time-frequency domain as well as quantifying the coupling between the recorded sites.

Supervisor: Andrej Kral