Offset responses in primary auditory cortex are enhanced after notched noise stimulation

Schilling A, Choi B, Parameshwarappa V, Norena AJ (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 129

Pages Range: 1114-1126

Journal Issue: 5

DOI: 10.1152/jn.00335.2022


Sensory "aftereffects" are a subgroup of sensory illusions that can be defined as an illusory phenomenon triggered after prolonged exposure to a given sensory inducer. These phenomena are interesting because they can provide insights into the mechanisms of perception. In auditory modality, there is a special interest in the so-called "Zwicker tone" (ZT), an auditory aftereffect triggered after the presentation of a notched noise (NN, broadband noise with a missing frequency band). The ZT has been considered a plausible model of a specific tinnitus subtype since it presents some key characteristics in common with tinnitus. Indeed, both the tinnitus percept and ZT can be triggered by a relative "sensory deprivation," and their pitch corresponds to the frequency region that has been sensory deprived. The effects of a NN presentation on the central auditory system are still barely investigated, and the mechanisms of the ZT are elusive. In this study, we analyzed the laminar structure of the neural activity in the primary cortex of anesthetized and awake guinea pigs during and after white noise (WN) and NN stimulation. We found significantly increased offset responses, in terms of both spiking activity and local field potential amplitude, after NN compared with WN presentation. The offset responses were circumscribed to the granular and upper infragranular layers (input layers) and were maximal when the neuron's best frequency was within or near the missing frequency band. The mechanisms of the offset response and its putative link with the ZT are discussed.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Notched noise (white noise with embedded spectral gap) causes significant excitatory offset responses in the auditory cortex of awake and anesthetized guinea pigs. The largest offset responses were located in the infragranular/granular layers, and current source density analysis revealed that offset responses were associated with an early current sink localized in the upper infragranular layers. We discuss the possibility that the offset responses might be associated with an auditory phantom percept (Zwicker tone).

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Schilling, A., Choi, B., Parameshwarappa, V., & Norena, A.J. (2023). Offset responses in primary auditory cortex are enhanced after notched noise stimulation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 129(5), 1114-1126.


Schilling, Achim, et al. "Offset responses in primary auditory cortex are enhanced after notched noise stimulation." Journal of Neurophysiology 129.5 (2023): 1114-1126.

BibTeX: Download