Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 196, Issue 2, pp 239–251 | Cite as

Somatosensory and multisensory properties of the medial bank of the ferret rostral suprasylvian sulcus

  • L. P. Keniston
  • B. L. Allman
  • M. A. Meredith
  • H. R. Clemo
Research Article


In ferret cortex, the rostral portion of the suprasylvian sulcus separates primary somatosensory cortex (SI) from the anterior auditory fields. The boundary of the SI extends to this sulcus, but the adjoining medial sulcal bank has been described as “unresponsive.” Given its location between the representations of two different sensory modalities, it seems possible that the medial bank of the rostral suprasylvian sulcus (MRSS) might be multisensory in nature and contains neurons responsive to stimuli not examined by previous studies. The aim of this investigation was to determine if the MRSS contained tactile, auditory and/or multisensory neurons and to evaluate if its anatomical connections were consistent with these properties. The MRSS was found to be primarily responsive to low-threshold cutaneous stimulation, with regions of the head, neck and upper trunk represented somatotopically that were primarily connected with the SI face representation. Unlike the adjoining SI, the MRSS exhibited a different cytoarchitecture, its cutaneous representation was largely bilateral, and it contained a mixture of somatosensory, auditory and multisensory neurons. Despite the presence of multisensory neurons, however, auditory inputs exerted only modest effects on tactile processing in MRSS neurons and showed no influence on the averaged population response. These results identify the MRSS as a distinct, higher order somatosensory region as well as demonstrate that an area containing multisensory neurons may not necessarily exhibit activity indicative of multisensory processing at the population level.


Tactile Auditory Crossmodal Somatotopy Map 



Supported by NIH grant NS 039460.


  1. Allman BL, Meredith MA (2007) Multisensory processing in “unimodal” neurons: cross-modal subthreshold auditory effects in cat extrastriate visual cortex. J Neurophysiol 98:545–549PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allman BL, Bittencourt-Navarrete RE, Keniston LP, Medina AE, Wang MY, Meredith MA (2008a) Do cross-modal projections always result in multisensory integration? Cereb Cortex 18:2066–2076PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allman BL, Keniston LP, Meredith MA (2008b) Subthreshold auditory inputs to extrastriate visual neurons are responsive to parametric changes in stimulus quality: sensory-specific versus non-specific coding. Brain Res 1242:95–101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Avendano C, Rausell E, Perezaguilar D, Isorna S (1988) Organization of the association cortical afferent connections of area-5—a retrograde tracer study in the cat. J Comp Neurol 278:1–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell AH, Meredith MA, Van Opstal AJ, Munoz DP (2005) Crossmodal integration in the primate superior colliculus underlying the preparation and initiation of saccadic eye movements. J Neurophysiol 93:3659–3673PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bennett RE, Ferrington DG, Rowe M (1980) Tactile neuron classes within second somatosensory area (SII) of cat cerebral cortex. J Neurophysiol 43:292–309PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Berman AL (1961a) Overlap of somatic and auditory cortical response fields in anterior ectosylvian gyrus of cat. J Neurophysiol 24:595–607PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Berman AL (1961b) Interaction of cortical responses to somatic and auditory stimuli in anterior ectosylvian gyrus of cat. J Neurophysiol 24:608–619PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bizley K, Nodal FR, Nelken I, King AJ (2005) Functional organization of ferret auditory cortex. Cereb Cortex 15(10):1637–1653PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brett-Green B, Fifkova E, Larue DT, Winer JA, Barth DS (2003) A multisensory zone in rat parietotemporal cortex: intra- and extracellular physiology and thalamocortical connections. J Comp Neurol 460:223–237PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carreras M, Andersson SA (1963) Functional properties of neurons of the anterior ectosylvian gyrus of the cat. J Neurophysiol 26:100–126PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Carriere BN, Royal DW, Perrault TJ, Morrison SP, Vaughan JW, Stein BE, Wallace MT (2007) Visual deprivation alters the development of cortical multisensory integration. J Neurophysiol 98:2858–2867PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clemo HR, Stein BE (1983) Organization of a fourth somatosensory area of cortex in cat. J Neurophysiol 50:910–925PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Clemo HR, Allman BL, Donlan MA, Meredith MA (2007) Sensory and multisensory representations within the cat rostral suprasylvian cortex. J Comp Neurol 503:110–127PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clemo HR, Keniston LP, Allman BL, Meredith MA (2008a) Somatosensory representation in the dorsal bank of the rostral suprasylvian sulcus in the ferret. Soc Neurosci Abstr 38:178.7Google Scholar
  16. Clemo HR, Sharma GK, Allman BL, Meredith MA (2008b) Auditory projections to extrastriate visual cortex: connectional basis for multisensory processing in ‘unimodal’ visual neurons. Exp Brain Res 191:37–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cusick CG, Wall JT, Felleman DJ, Kaas JH (1989) Somatotopic organization of the lateral sulcus of owl monkeys: area 3b, S-II, and ventral somatosensory areas. J Comp Neurol 282:169–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dehner LR, Keniston LP, Clemo HR, Meredith MA (2004) Cross-modal circuitry between auditory and somatosensory areas of the cat anterior ectosylvian sulcal cortex: a ‘new’ inhibitory form of multisensory convergence. Cereb Cortex 14:387–403PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Driver J, Noesselt T (2008) Multisensory interplay reveals crossmodal influences on ‘sensory-specific’ brain regions, neural responses, and judgments. Neuron 57:11–23PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dykes RW, Dudar JD, Tanji DG, Publicover NG (1977) Somatotopic projections of mystacial vibrissae on cerebral cortex of cats. J Neurophysiol 40:997–1014PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Graybiel AM (1972) Some fiber pathways related to the posterior thalamic region in the cat. Brain Behav Evol 6:363–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haight JR (1971) Somatotopic organization of second somatosensory area SII in cat cortex. Anat Rec 169:331Google Scholar
  23. Hassler R, Muhs-Clement K (1964) Architectonic construction of the sensomotor and parietal cortex in the cat. J Hirnforsch 20:377–420PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Heath CJ, Jones EG (1971a) An experimental study of ascending connections from the posterior group of thalamic nuclei in the cat. J Comp Neurol 141:397–426PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heath CJ, Jones EG (1971b) The anatomical organization of the suprasylvian gyrus of the cat. Ergeb Anat Entwicklungsgesch 45:3–64PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hunt DL, Yamoah EN, Krubitzer L (2006) Multisensory plasticity in congenitally deaf mice: how are cortical areas functionally specified? Neuroscience 139:1507–1524PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keniston LP, Allman BL, Meredith MA (2008) The rostral suprasylvian sulcus (RSSS) of the ferret: a ‘new’ multisensory area. Soc Neurosci Abstr 38:457.10Google Scholar
  28. Kowalski N, Versnel H, Shamma SA (1995) Comparison of responses in the anterior and primary auditory fields of the ferret cortex. J Neurophysiol 73(4):1513–1523PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Leclerc SS, Rice FL, Dykes RW, Pourmoghadam K, Gomez CM (1993) Electrophysiological examination of the representation of the face in the suprasylvian gyrus of the ferret: a correlative study with cytoarchitecture. Somatosens Mot Res 10:133–159PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lomber SG, Meredith MA, Kral A (2008) Deactivation of specific auditory cortical areas abolishes superior visual abilities of the deaf. Soc Neurosci Abstr 38:46023Google Scholar
  31. Manger PR, Masiello I, Innocenti GM (2002) Areal organization of the posterior parietal cortex of the ferret (mustela putorius). Cereb Cortex 12:1280–1297PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McLaughlin DF, Sonty RV, Juliano SL (1998) Organization of the forepaw representation in ferret somatosensory cortex. Somatosens Mot Res 15(4):253–268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Meredith MA (2004) Cortico-cortical connectivity and the architecture of cross-modal circuits. In: Spence C, Calvert G, Stein B (eds) Handbook of multisensory processes. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 343–355Google Scholar
  34. Meredith MA, Allman BL (2009) Subthreshold multisensory processing in cat auditory cortex. NeuroReport 20:126–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meredith MA, Keniston LR, Dehner LR, Clemo HR (2006) Crossmodal projections from somatosensory area SIV to the auditory field of the anterior ectosylvian sulcus (FAES) in cat: further evidence for subthreshold forms of multisensory processing. Exp Brain Res 172:472–484PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Monteiro GA, Clemo HR, Meredith MA (2003) Anterior ectosylvian cortical projections to the rostral suprasylvian multisensory zone in cat. NeuroReport 14:2139–2145PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Palmer LA, Rosenquist AC, Tusa RJ (1978) Retinotopic organization of lateral suprasylvian visual areas in cat. J Comp Neurol 177:237–256PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Perrault TJ, Vaughan W, Stein BE, Wallace MT (2005) Superior colliculus neurons use distinct operational modes in the integration of multisensory stimuli. J Neurophysiol 93:2575–2586PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ramsay AM, Meredith MA (2004) Multiple sensory afferents to ferret pseudosylvian sulcal cortex. NeuroReport 15:461–465PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rauschecker JP, von Grunau MW, Poulin C (1987) Centrifugal organization of direction preferences in the cat’s lateral suprasylvian visual cortex and its relation to flow field processing. J Neurosci 7:943–958PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Reale RA, Imig TJ (1980) Tonotopic organization in auditory cortex of the cat. J Comp Neurol 192:265–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rice FL, Gomez CM, Leclerc SS, Dykes RW, Moon JS, Pourmoghadam K (1993) Cytoarchitecture of the ferret suprasylvian gyrus correlated with areas containing multiunit responses elicited by stimulation of the face. Somatosens Mot Res 10:161–188PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Robinson CJ, Burton H (1980) Organization of somatosensory receptive fields in cortical areas 7b, retroinsula, postauditory and granular insula of M. fasicularis. J Comp Neurol 192:69–92PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stecker GC, Harrington IA, Macpherson EA, Middlebrooks JC (2005) Spatial sensitivity in the dorsal zone (area DZ) of cat auditory cortex. J Neurophysiol 94:1267–1280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tanji DG, Wise SP, Dykes RW, Jones EG (1978) Cytoarchitecture and thalamic connectivity of third somatosensory area of cat cerebral cortex. J Neurophysiol 41:268–284PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. van der Gucht E, Vandesande F, Arckens L (2001) Neurofilament protein: a selective marker for the architectonic parcellation of the visual cortex in adult cat brain. J Comp Neurol 441:345–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Veenman CL, Reiner A, Honig MG (1992) Biotinylated dextran amine as an anterograde tracer for single- and double-labeling studies. J Neurosci Methods 41:239–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wallace MT, Ramachandran R, Stein BE (2004) A revised view of sensory cortical parcellation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:2167–2172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Woolsey CN, Fairman D (1946) Contralateral, ipsilateral, and bilateral representations of cutaneous receptors in somatic areas I and II of the cerebral cortex of pig, sheep, and other mammals. Surgery 46:684–702Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. P. Keniston
    • 1
  • B. L. Allman
    • 1
  • M. A. Meredith
    • 1
  • H. R. Clemo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth University School of MedicineRichmondUSA

Personalised recommendations