Elsevier, NeuroImage, (92), p. 120-131, 2014
The amplitude variability of the M50 component of neuromagnetic responses is commonly used to explore the brain’s ability to modulate its response to incoming repetitive or novel auditory stimuli, a process conceptualized as a gating mechanism. The goal of this study was to identify the spatial and temporal characteristics of the cortical sources underlying the M50 network evoked by tones in a passive oddball paradigm. Twenty elderly subjects [10 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or probable Alzheimer disease (AD) and 10 age-matched controls] were examined using magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recordings and the multi-dipole Calibrated Start Spatio-Temporal (CSST) source localization method. We identified three cortical regions underlying the M50 network: prefrontal cortex (PF) in addition to bilateral activation of the superior temporal gyrus (STG). The cortical dynamics of the PF source within the 30–100 ms post-stimulus interval was characterized and was found to be comprised of two subcomponents, Mb1c and Mb2c. The PF source was localized for 10/10 healthy subjects, whereas 9/10 MCI/AD patients were lacking the PF source for both tone conditions. The selective activation of the PF source in healthy controls along with inactivation of the PF region for MCI/AD patients, enabled us to examine the dynamics of this network of activity when it was functional and dysfunctional, respectively. We found significantly enhanced activity of the STG sources in response to both tone conditions for all subjects who lacked a PF source. The reported results provide novel insights into the topology and neurodynamics of the M50 auditory network, which suggest an inhibitory role of the PF source that normally suppresses activity of the STG sources.