Development of the Auditory Cortex

  • Andrej Kral
  • Sarah L. Pallas


Neuronal development is a progressive series of constructive and reductive events including division of progenitors, their accretion at specific locations, differentiation into neuronal and glial subtypes, and circuit refinement. The final goal is to establish adaptive neuronal circuits controlling the behavior of the organism. The complex architecture of the adult auditory cortex (AC) is thus the consequence of many developmental processes taking place prenatally and postnatally. The end of the developmental period is traditionally defined by sexual maturity; however, substantial adaptations in cortical circuitry continue throughout life. We identify some rules applicable to cortical development in general and to AC in particular, concentrating on the species most common in hearing research. We build on comparative reviews on the structural and functional development of the auditory system (Payne 1992; Cant 1998; Sanes and Walsh 1998; Romand 1997; Yan 2003). We also consider studies on the AC structural and functional plasticity during development. Studies on adult plasticity are beyond the scope of this analysis.


Auditory Cortex Inferior Colliculus Sensitive Period Cortical Plate Primary Auditory Cortex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



auditory cortex


primary auditory cortex


a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-4-propionic acid


bone morphogenetic protein




excitatory postsynaptic potential


gamma-aminobutyric acid


inferior colliculus


inhibitory postsynaptic potential


long-term depression


long-term potentiation


medial geniculate body


mismatch negativity


N-methyl-D-aspartic acid


postsynaptic potential


thalamocortical afferents


primary visual cortex


ventricular zone



Space limitations preclude more complete citations of the primary literature; as an alternative, reference to comprehensive reviews was often made. Supported by: grants from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Germany) and the National Institutes of Health (USA) (A.K.); and by the Deafness Research Foundation, Fight for Sight, Whitehall Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health (USA) (S.L.P.).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Audioneurotechnology and Department of Experimental OtologyENT Clinics, Medical University HannoverFeodor-Lynen-Str. 35Germany
  2. 2.Neuroscience InstituteGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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