Acceleration of inferred neural responses to oddball targets in an individual with bilateral amygdala lesion compared to healthy controls.
Abivardi A., Korn CW., Rojkov I., Gerster S., Hurlemann R., Bach DR.
Detecting unusual auditory stimuli is crucial for discovering potential threat. Locus coeruleus (LC), which coordinates attention, and amygdala, which is implicated in resource prioritization, both respond to deviant sounds. Evidence concerning their interaction, however, is sparse. Seeking to elucidate if human amygdala affects estimated LC activity during this process, we recorded pupillary responses during an auditory oddball and an illuminance change task, in a female with bilateral amygdala lesions (BG) and in n = 23 matched controls. Neural input in response to oddballs was estimated via pupil dilation, a reported proxy of LC activity, harnessing a linear-time invariant system and individual pupillary dilation response function (IRF) inferred from illuminance responses. While oddball recognition remained intact, estimated LC input for BG was compacted to an impulse rather than the prolonged waveform seen in healthy controls. This impulse had the earliest response mean and highest kurtosis in the sample. As a secondary finding, BG showed enhanced early pupillary constriction to darkness. These findings suggest that LC-amygdala communication is required to sustain LC activity in response to anomalous sounds. Our results provide further evidence for amygdala involvement in processing deviant sound targets, although it is not required for their behavioral recognition.