The present study used an optical imaging paradigm to investigate plastic changes in the auditory cortex induced by fear conditioning, in which a sound (conditioned stimulus, CS) was paired with an electric foot-shock (unconditioned stimulus, US). We report that, after conditioning, auditory information could be retrieved on the basis of an electric foot-shock alone. Before conditioning, the auditory cortex showed no response to a foot-shock presented in the absence of sound. In contrast, after conditioning, the mere presentation of a foot-shock without any sound succeeded in eliciting activity in the auditory cortex. Additionally, the magnitude of the optical response in the auditory cortex correlated with variation in the electrocardiogram (correlation coefficient: -0.68). The area activated in the auditory cortex, in response to the electric foot-shock, statistically significantly had a larger cross-correlation value for tone response to the CS sound (12 kHz) compared to the non-CS sounds in normal conditioning group. These results suggest that integration of different sensory modalities in the auditory cortex was established by fear conditioning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience