Selective attention to visual stimuli using auditory distractors is altered in alpha-9 nicotinic receptor subunit knock-out mice

Gonzalo Terreros, Pascal Jorratt, Cristian Aedo, Ana Belén Elgoyhen, Paul H. Delano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During selective attention, subjects voluntarily focus their cognitive resources on a specific stimulus while ignoring others. Top-down filtering of peripheral sensory responses by higher structures of the brain has been proposed as one of the mechanisms responsible for selective attention. A prerequisite to accomplish top-down modulation of the activity of peripheral structures is the presence of corticofugal pathways. The mammalian auditory efferent system is a unique neural network that originates in the auditory cortex and projects to the cochlear receptor through the olivocochlear bundle, and it has been proposed to function as a top-down filter of peripheral auditory responses during attention to cross-modal stimuli. However, to date, there is no conclusive evidence of the involvement of olivocochlear neurons in selective attention paradigms. Here, we trained wild-type and α-9 nicotinic receptor subunit knock-out (KO) mice, which lack cholinergic transmission between medial olivocochlear neurons and outer hair cells, in a two-choice visual discrimination task and studied the behavioral consequences of adding different types of auditory distractors. In addition, we evaluated the effects of contralateral noise on auditory nerve responses as a measure of the individual strength of the olivocochlear reflex. We demonstrate that KO mice have a reduced olivocochlear reflex strength and perform poorly in a visual selective attention paradigm. These results confirm that an intact medial olivocochlear transmission aids in ignoring auditory distraction during selective attention to visual stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7198-7209
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume36
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 6 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Auditory distractors
  • Auditory efferent
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Olivocochlear
  • Top-down

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Selective attention to visual stimuli using auditory distractors is altered in alpha-9 nicotinic receptor subunit knock-out mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this