Neural Sensory Processing Group

Somatostatin-expressing interneurons in the auditory cortex mediate sustained suppression by spectral surround
The Journal of Neuroscience (2020)
AA Lakunina, MB Nardoci, Y Ahmadian, and S Jaramillo


Sensory systems integrate multiple stimulus features to generate coherent percepts. Spectral surround suppression, the phenomenon by which sound-evoked responses of auditory neurons are suppressed by stimuli outside their receptive field, is an example of this integration taking place in the auditory system. While this form of global integration is commonly observed in auditory cortical neurons, and potentially used by the nervous system to separate signals from noise, the mechanisms that underlie this suppression of activity are not well understood. We evaluated the contributions to spectral surround suppression of the two most common inhibitory cell types in the cortex, parvalbumin-expressing (PV+) and somatostatin-expressing (SOM1) interneurons, in mice of both sexes. We found that inactivating SOM1 cells, but not PV+ cells, significantly reduces sustained spectral surround suppression in excitatory cells, indicating a dominant causal role for SOM1 cells in the integration of information across multiple frequencies. The similarity of these results to those from other sensory cortices provides evidence of common mechanisms across the cerebral cortex for generating global percepts from separate features.