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Serotonergic Modulation of Sensory and Multisensory Processing in Superior Colliculus

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For more content, see Seeing and Perceiving and Spatial Vision.

The ability to integrate information across the senses is vital for coherent perception of and interaction with the world. While much is known regarding the organization and function of multisensory neurons within the mammalian superior colliculus (SC), very little is understood at a mechanistic level. One open question in this regard is the role of neuromodulatory networks in shaping multisensory responses. While the SC receives substantial serotonergic projections from the raphe nuclei, and serotonergic receptors are distributed throughout the SC, the potential role of serotonin (5-HT) signaling in multisensory function is poorly understood. To begin to fill this knowledge void, the current study provides physiological evidence for the influences of 5-HT signaling on auditory, visual and audiovisual responses of individual neurons in the intermediate and deep layers of the SC, with a focus on the 5HT2a receptor. Using single-unit extracellular recordings in combination with pharmacological methods, we demonstrate that alterations in 5HT2a receptor signaling change receptive field (RF) architecture as well as responsivity and integrative abilities of SC neurons when assessed at the level of the single neuron. In contrast, little changes were seen in the local field potential (LFP). These results are the first to implicate the serotonergic system in multisensory processing, and are an important step to understanding how modulatory networks mediate multisensory integration in the SC.

Affiliations: 1: 1Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA ; 2: 4Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA ; 3: 2Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA ; 4: 3Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
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