Altered response dynamics and increased population correlation to tonal stimuli embedded in noise in aging auditory cortex

Kelson Shilling-Scrivo, Jonah Mittelstadt, Patrick O. Kanold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a chronic health condition that affects one-third of the world population. One hallmark of presbycusis is a difficulty hearing in noisy environments. Presbycusis can be separated into two components: alterations of peripheral mechanotransduction of sound in the cochlea and central alterations of auditory processing areas of the brain. Although the effects of the aging cochlea in hearing loss have been well studied, the role of the aging brain in hearing loss is less well understood. Therefore, to examine how age-related central processing changes affect hearing in noisy environments, we used a mouse model (Thy1-GCaMP6s X CBA) that has excellent peripheral hearing in old age. We used in vivo two-photon Ca21 imaging to measure the responses of neuronal populations in auditory cortex (ACtx) of adult (2–6months, nine male, six female, 4180 neurons) and aging mice (15–17months, six male, three female, 1055 neurons) while listening to tones in noisy backgrounds. We found that ACtx neurons in aging mice showed larger responses to tones and have less suppressed responses consistent with reduced inhibition. Aging neurons also showed less sensitivity to temporal changes. Population analysis showed that neurons in aging mice showed higher pairwise activity correlations and showed a reduced diversity in responses to sound stimuli. Using neural decoding techniques, we show a loss of information in neuronal populations in the aging brain. Thus, aging not only affects the responses of single neurons but also affects how these neurons jointly represent stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9650-9668
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 17 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Auditory cortex
  • Correlation
  • Noise
  • Offset
  • Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Altered response dynamics and increased population correlation to tonal stimuli embedded in noise in aging auditory cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this