Multisensory plasticity in congenitally deaf mice: How are cortical areas functionally specified?

D. L. Hunt, E. N. Yamoah, L. Krubitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The neocortex of congenitally deaf mice was examined using electrophysiological recording techniques combined with cortical myeloarchitecture. Our results indicate that relative activity patterns across sensory systems during development contribute to modality assignment of cortical fields as well as the size of cortical fields. In congenitally deaf mice, "auditory cortex" contained neurons that responded to somatosensory, visual, or both somatosensory and visual stimulation; the primary visual area contained a larger proportion of neurons that responded to somatosensory stimulation than in normal animals, and the primary visual area had significantly increased in size. Thus, cortical architecture and functional specification were de-correlated. When results are considered in the light of molecular studies and studies in which peripheral activity is altered in development, it becomes clear that similar types of changes to the neocortex, such as alterations in cortical field size, can be achieved in more than one way in the developing and evolving neocortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1524
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • cortical organization
  • deaf mouse
  • evolution
  • multisensory plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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