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Preview: Cerebral Cortex - Advance Access

Cerebral Cortex Advance Access





Published: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2018 01:43:57 GMT

 



Encoding of Auditory Temporal Gestalt in the Human Brain

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
The perception of an acoustic rhythm is invariant to the absolute temporal intervals constituting a sound sequence. It is unknown where in the brain temporal Gestalt, the percept emerging from the relative temporal proximity between acoustic events, is encoded. Two different relative temporal patterns, each induced by three experimental conditions with different absolute temporal patterns as sensory basis, were presented to participants. A linear support vector machine classifier was trained to differentiate activation patterns in functional magnetic resonance imaging data to the 2 different percepts. Across the sensory constituents the classifier decoded which percept was perceived. A searchlight analysis localized activation patterns specific to the temporal Gestalt bilaterally to the temporoparietal junction, including the planum temporale and supramarginal gyrus, and unilaterally to the right inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis). We show that auditory areas not only process absolute temporal intervals, but also integrate them into percepts of Gestalt and that encoding of these percepts persists in high-level associative areas. The findings complement existing knowledge regarding the processing of absolute temporal patterns to the processing of relative temporal patterns relevant to the sequential binding of perceptual elements into Gestalt.



Neural Evidence for the Contribution of Active Suppression During Working Memory Filtering

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
In order to efficiently process incoming visual information, selective attention acts as a filter that enhances relevant and suppresses irrelevant information. In this study, we used an event-related potential (ERP) approach with systematic lateralization to investigate enhancement and suppression during encoding of information into visual working memory (WM) separately. We used a change detection task in which observers had to memorize some items while ignoring other items. We found that the to-be-ignored items elicited a PD component in the ERP, suggesting that irrelevant information is actively suppressed from WM. The PD amplitude increased with distractor load and decreased with the ability to group distractors according to Gestalt principles. This suggests that the PD can be used as an indicator of how efficiently items can be suppressed from entering WM. Furthermore, while lateral memory-targets elicited a “traditional” CDA (starting ~300 ms), lateral memory-distractors elicited a sustained positivity contralateral to memory-distractors (CDAp, starting ~400 ms). In sum the results suggest that inhibition of irrelevant information is an important factor for efficient WM and is reflected in spontaneous (PD) and sustained suppression (CDAp).



Neonatal Hypoxia–Ischemia Causes Functional Circuit Changes in Subplate Neurons

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Neonatal hypoxia–ischemia (HI) in the preterm human results in damage to subcortical developing white matter and cognitive impairments. Subplate neurons (SPNs) are among the first-born cortical neurons and are necessary for normal cerebral development. While moderate or severe HI at P1 in rats leads to SPN loss, it is unclear if HI, esp. forms not associated with overt cell loss lead to altered SPN circuits. Thus, we used two HI models with different severities in P1 rats. Cauterization of the common carotid artery (CCA) causes a largely transient and thus milder ischemia (HI-Caut) while CCA ligation causes more severe ischemia (HI-Lig). While HI-Lig caused subplate damage, HI-Caut did not cause overt histological damage on the light microscopic level. We used laser-scanning photostimulation (LSPS) in acute thalamocortical slices of auditory cortex during P5–10 to study the functional connectivity of SPNs. Both HI categories resulted in hyperconnectivity of excitatory and inhibitory circuits to SPNs. Thus, alterations on the circuit level are present in the absence of cell loss. Our results show that SPN circuits are uniquely susceptible to HI. Given the key developmental role of SPNs, our results suggest that altered SPN circuits might underlie the abnormal development of cortical function after HI.



Core Differences in Synaptic Signaling Between Primary Visual and Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Neurons in primary visual cortex (V1) are more resilient than those in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) in aging, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. The current study compared glutamate and neuromodulatory actions in macaque V1 to those in dlPFC, and found striking regional differences. V1 neuronal firing to visual stimuli depended on AMPA receptors, with subtle NMDA receptor contributions, while dlPFC depends primarily on NMDA receptors. Neuromodulatory actions also differed between regions. In V1, cAMP signaling increased neuronal firing, and the phosphodiesterase PDE4A was positioned to regulate cAMP effects on glutamate release from axons. HCN channels in V1 were classically located on distal dendrites, and enhanced cell firing. These data contrast with dlPFC, where PDE4A and HCN channels are concentrated in thin spines, and cAMP-HCN signaling gates inputs and weakens firing. These regional differences may explain why V1 neurons are more resilient than dlPFC neurons to the challenges of age and disease.



Lack of Methyl-CpG Binding Protein 2 (MeCP2) Affects Cell Fate Refinement During Embryonic Cortical Development

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
During differentiation, neurons progressively restrict their fate repressing the expression of specific genes. Here we describe the involvement in such developmental steps of the methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2), an epigenetic factor that participates to chromatin folding and transcriptional regulation. We previously reported that, due to transcriptional impairments, the maturation of Mecp2 null neurons is delayed. To evaluate whether this could stem from altered progenitors proliferation and differentiation, we investigated whether lack of Mecp2 affects these features both in vitro and in vivo. We show that in Mecp2 null embryonic cortexes the expression of genes defining the identity of proliferating neuroprogenitors is enriched and that their permanence in the G1 phase is prolonged. Moreover, the number of cells transitioning from a stage of maturation to a more mature one is increased in Mecp2 null embryonic cortices, in line with the central role of G1 for cell identity refinement. We thus suggest that, possibly due to the lack of proper transcriptional control normally exerted by Mecp2, fate refinement is impaired in developing null cells. We propose that the maturation delay affecting the developing Mecp2 null cortex originates, at least in part, from deranged mechanisms of cell fate refinement.



The Roles of Left Versus Right Anterior Temporal Lobes in Semantic Memory: A Neuropsychological Comparison of Postsurgical Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Patients

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
The presence and degree of specialization between the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs) is a key issue in debates about the neural architecture of semantic memory. Here, we comprehensively assessed multiple aspects of semantic cognition in a large group of postsurgical temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients with left versus right anterior temporal lobectomy (n = 40). Both subgroups showed deficits in expressive and receptive verbal semantic tasks, word and object recognition, naming and recognition of famous faces and perception of faces and emotions. Graded differences in performance between the left and right groups were secondary to the overall mild semantic impairment; primarily, left resected TLE patients showed weaker performance on tasks that required naming or accessing semantic information from a written word. Right resected TLE patients were relatively more impaired at recognizing famous faces as familiar, although this effect was observed less consistently. These findings unify previous partial, inconsistent results and also align directly with fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation results in neurologically intact participants. Taken together, these data support a model in which the 2 ATLs act as a coupled bilateral system for the representation of semantic knowledge, and in which graded hemispheric specializations emerge as a consequence of differential connectivity to lateralized speech production and face perception regions.