Response of inferior colliculus neurons to electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve in neonatally deafened cats.
Response properties of neurons in the inferior colliculus (IC) were examined in control and profoundly deafened animals to electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve. Seven adult cats were used: two controls; four neonatally deafened (2 bilaterally, 2 unilaterally); and one long-term bilaterally deaf cat. All control cochleae were deafened immediately before recording to avoid electrophonic activation of hair cells. Histological analysis of neonatally deafened cochleae showed no evidence of hair cells and a moderate to severe spiral ganglion cell loss, whereas the long-term deaf animal had only 1-2% ganglion cell survival. Under barbiturate anesthesia, scala tympani electrodes were implanted bilaterally and the auditory nerve electrically stimulated using 100 micros/phase biphasic current pulses. Single-unit (n = 419) recordings were made through the lateral (LN) and central (ICC) nuclei of the IC; responses could be elicited readily in all animals. Approximately 80% of cells responded to contralateral stimulation, whereas nearly 75% showed an excitatory response to ipsilateral stimulation. Most units showed a monotonic increase in spike probability and reduction in latency and jitter with increasing current. Nonmonotonic activity was seen in 15% of units regardless of hearing status. Neurons in the LN exhibited longer latencies (10-25 ms) compared with those in the ICC (5-8 ms). There was a deafness-induced increase in latency, jitter, and dynamic range; the extent of these changes was related to duration of deafness. The ICC maintained a rudimentary cochleotopic organization in all neonatally deafened animals, suggesting that this organization is laid down during development in the absence of normal afferent input. Temporal resolution of IC neurons was reduced significantly in neonatal bilaterally deafened animals compared with acutely deafened controls, whereas neonatal unilaterally deafened animals showed no reduction. It would appear that monaural afferent input is sufficient to maintain normal levels of temporal resolution in auditory midbrain neurons. These experiments have shown that many of the basic response properties are similar across animals with a wide range of auditory experience. However, important differences were identified, including increased response latencies and temporal jitter, and reduced levels of temporal resolution. (+info)
Coding of sound pressure level in the barn owl's auditory nerve.
Rate-intensity functions, i.e., the relation between discharge rate and sound pressure level, were recorded from single auditory nerve fibers in the barn owl. Differences in sound pressure level between the owl's two ears are known to be an important cue in sound localization. One objective was therefore to quantify the discharge rates of auditory nerve fibers, as a basis for higher-order processing of sound pressure level. The second aim was to investigate the rate-intensity functions for cues to the underlying cochlear mechanisms, using a model developed in mammals. Rate-intensity functions at the most sensitive frequency mostly showed a well-defined breakpoint between an initial steep segment and a progressively flattening segment. This shape has, in mammals, been convincingly traced to a compressive nonlinearity in the cochlear mechanics, which in turn is a reflection of the cochlear amplifier enhancing low-level stimuli. The similarity of the rate-intensity functions of the barn owl is thus further evidence for a similar mechanism in birds. An interesting difference from mammalian data was that this compressive nonlinearity was not shared among fibers of similar characteristic frequency, suggesting a different mechanism with a more locally differentiated operation than in mammals. In all fibers, the steepest change in discharge rate with rising sound pressure level occurred within 10-20 dB of their respective thresholds. Because the range of neural thresholds at any one characteristic frequency is small in the owl, auditory nerve fibers were collectively most sensitive for changes in sound pressure level within approximately 30 dB of the best thresholds. Fibers most sensitive to high frequencies (>6-7 kHz) showed a smaller increase of rate above spontaneous discharge rate than did lower-frequency fibers. (+info)
Organization of inhibitory frequency receptive fields in cat primary auditory cortex.
Based on properties of excitatory frequency (spectral) receptive fields (esRFs), previous studies have indicated that cat primary auditory cortex (A1) is composed of functionally distinct dorsal and ventral subdivisions. Dorsal A1 (A1d) has been suggested to be involved in analyzing complex spectral patterns, whereas ventral A1 (A1v) appears better suited for analyzing narrowband sounds. However, these studies were based on single-tone stimuli and did not consider how neuronal responses to tones are modulated when the tones are part of a more complex acoustic environment. In the visual and peripheral auditory systems, stimulus components outside of the esRF can exert strong modulatory effects on responses. We investigated the organization of inhibitory frequency regions outside of the pure-tone esRF in single neurons in cat A1. We found a high incidence of inhibitory response areas (in 95% of sampled neurons) and a wide variety in the structure of inhibitory bands ranging from a single band to more than four distinct inhibitory regions. Unlike the auditory nerve where most fibers possess two surrounding "lateral" suppression bands, only 38% of A1 cells had this simple structure. The word lateral is defined in this sense to be inhibition or suppression that extends beyond the low- and high-frequency borders of the esRF. Regional differences in the distribution of inhibitory RF structure across A1 were evident. In A1d, only 16% of the cells had simple two-banded lateral RF organization, whereas 50% of A1v cells had this organization. This nonhomogeneous topographic distribution of inhibitory properties is consistent with the hypothesis that A1 is composed of at least two functionally distinct subdivisions that may be part of different auditory cortical processing streams. (+info)
A possible neurophysiological basis of the octave enlargement effect.
Although the physical octave is defined as a simple ratio of 2:1, listeners prefer slightly greater octave ratios. Ohgushi [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 73, 1694-1700 (1983)] suggested that a temporal model for octave matching would predict this octave enlargement effect because, in response to pure tones, auditory-nerve interspike intervals are slightly larger than the stimulus period. In an effort to test Ohgushi's hypothesis, auditory-nerve single-unit responses to pure-tone stimuli were collected from Dial-anesthetized cats. It was found that although interspike interval distributions show clear phase-locking to the stimulus, intervals systematically deviate from integer multiples of the stimulus period. Due to refractory effects, intervals smaller than 5 msec are slightly larger than the stimulus period and deviate most for small intervals. On the other hand, first-order intervals are smaller than the stimulus period for stimulus frequencies less than 500 Hz. It is shown that this deviation is the combined effect of phase-locking and multiple spikes within one stimulus period. A model for octave matching was implemented which compares frequency estimates of two tones based on their interspike interval distributions. The model quantitatively predicts the octave enlargement effect. These results are consistent with the idea that musical pitch is derived from auditory-nerve interspike interval distributions. (+info)
Noninvasive direct stimulation of the cochlear nerve for functional MR imaging of the auditory cortex.
We herein present our preliminary experience with functional MR imaging of the direct electrical stimulation of the cochlear nerve using an MR imaging-compatible electrode placed in the external auditory meatus of five patients with binaural sensorineural hearing loss. The stimulator was placed outside the imager's bore, and the electrode produced virtually no susceptibility artifacts. In three of five patients, it was possible to activate the superior temporal gyrus during functional MR imaging. No side effects were observed. (+info)
Contributions of ion conductances to the onset responses of octopus cells in the ventral cochlear nucleus: simulation results.
The onset response pattern displayed by octopus cells has been attributed to intrinsic membrane properties, low membrane impedance, and/or synaptic inputs. Although the importance of a low membrane impedance generally is acknowledged as an essential component, views differ on the role that ion channels play in producing the onset response. In this study, we use a computer model to investigate the contributions of ion channels to the responses of octopus cells. Simulations using current ramps indicate that, during the "ramp-up" stage, the membrane depolarizes, activating a low-threshold K(+) channel, K(LT), which increases membrane conductance and dynamically increases the current required to evoke an action potential. As a result, the model is sensitive to the rate that membrane potential changes when initiating an action potential. Results obtained when experimentally recorded spike trains of auditory-nerve fibers served as model inputs (simulating acoustic stimulation) demonstrate that a model with K(LT) conductance as the dominant conductance produces realistic onset response patterns. Systematically replacing the K(LT) conductance by a h-type conductance (which corresponds to a hyperpolarization-activated inward rectifier current, I(h)) or by a leakage conductance reduces the model's sensitivity to rate of change in membrane potential, and the model's response to "acoustic stimulation" becomes more chopper-like. Increasing the h-type conductance while maintaining a large K(LT) conductance causes an increase in threshold to both current steps and acoustic stimulation but does not significantly affect the model's sensitivity to rate of change in membrane potential and the onset response pattern under acoustic stimulation. These findings support the idea that K(LT), which is activated during depolarization, is the primary membrane conductance determining the response properties of octopus cells, and its dynamic role cannot be provided by a static membrane conductance. On the other hand, I(h), which is activated during hyperpolarization, does not play a large role in the basic onset response pattern but may regulate response threshold through its contribution to the membrane conductance. (+info)
Reduced size of the cochlear branch of the vestibulocochlear nerve in a child with sensorineural hearing loss.
A 12-year-old female patient presented with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Distortion-product otoacoustic emission testing failed to reveal any measurable emissions in the affected side. MR imaging did not reveal labyrinthine malformation. Three-dimensional Fourier transformation-constructive interference in steady-state MR images showed a thin cochlear branch. We speculated that mumps infection or developmental malformation caused the unilateral sensorineural hearing loss. (+info)
Morphological identification of physiologically characterized afferents innervating the turtle posterior crista.
The turtle posterior crista consists of two hemicristae. Each hemicrista extends from the planum semilunatum to the nonsensory torus and includes a central zone (CZ) surrounded by a peripheral zone (PZ). Type I and type II hair cells are found in the CZ and are innervated by calyx, dimorphic and bouton afferents. Only type II hair cells and bouton fibers are found in the PZ. Units were intraaxonally labeled in a half-head preparation. Bouton (B) units could be near the planum (BP), near the torus (BT), or in midportions of a hemicrista, including the PZ and CZ. Discharge properties of B units vary with longitudinal position in a hemicrista but not with morphological features of their peripheral terminations. BP units are regularly discharging and have small gains and small phase leads re angular head velocity. BT units are irregular and have large gains and large phase leads. BM units have intermediate properties. Calyx (C) and dimorphic (D) units have similar discharge properties and were placed into a single calyx-bearing (CD) category. While having an irregular discharge resembling BT units, CD units have gains and phases similar to those of BM units. Rather than any single discharge property, it is the relation between discharge regularity and either gain or phase that makes CD units distinctive. Multivariate statistical formulas were developed to infer a unit's morphological class (B or CD) and longitudinal position solely from its discharge properties. To verify the use of the formulas, discharge properties were compared for units recorded intraaxonally or extracellularly in the half-head or extracellularly in intact animals. Most B units have background rates of 10-30 spikes/s. The CD category was separated into CD-high and CD-low units with background rates above or below 5 spikes/s, respectively. CD-low units have lower gains and phases and are located nearer the planum than CD-high units. In their response dynamics over a frequency range from 0.01-3 Hz, BP units conform to an overdamped torsion-pendulum model. Other units show departures from the model, including high-frequency gain increases and phase leads. The longitudinal gradient in the physiology of turtle B units resembles a similar gradient in the anamniote crista. In many respects, turtle CD units have discharge properties resembling those of calyx-bearing units in the mammalian central zone. (+info)