Deficient Recurrent Cortical Processing in Congenital Deafness

Prasandhya Astagiri Yusuf, Aly Lamuri, Peter Hubka, Jochen Tillein, Martin Vinck, Andrej Kral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of sensory experience on cortical feedforward and feedback interactions has rarely been studied in the auditory cortex. Previous work has documented a dystrophic effect of deafness in deep cortical layers, and a reduction of interareal couplings between primary and secondary auditory areas in congenital deafness which was particularly pronounced in the top-down direction (from the secondary to the primary area). In the present study, we directly quantified the functional interaction between superficial (supragranular, I to III) and deep (infragranular, V and VI) layers of feline’s primary auditory cortex A1, and also between superficial/deep layers of A1 and a secondary auditory cortex, namely the posterior auditory field (PAF). We compared adult hearing cats under acoustic stimulation and cochlear implant (CI) stimulation to adult congenitally deaf cats (CDC) under CI stimulation. Neuronal activity was recorded from auditory fields A1 and PAF simultaneously with two NeuroNexus electrode arrays. We quantified the spike field coherence (i.e., the statistical dependence of spike trains at one electrode with local field potentials on another electrode) using pairwise phase consistency (PPC). Both the magnitude as well as the preferred phase of synchronization was analyzed. The magnitude of PPC was significantly smaller in CDCs than in controls. Furthermore, controls showed no significant difference between the preferred phase of synchronization between supragranular and infragranular layers, both in acoustic and electric stimulation. In CDCs, however, there was a large difference in the preferred phase between supragranular and infragranular layers. These results demonstrate a loss of synchrony and for the first time directly document a functional decoupling of the interaction between supragranular and infragranular layers of the primary auditory cortex in congenital deafness. Since these are key for the influence of top-down to bottom-up computations, the results suggest a loss of recurrent cortical processing in congenital deafness and explain the outcomes of previous studies by deficits in intracolumnar microcircuitry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number806142
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2022


  • auditory function
  • congenital deafness
  • cortical column
  • electrical recording
  • functional connectivity
  • spike-field coherence


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