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Decreased temporal precision of auditory signaling in Kcna1-null mice: an electrophysiological study in vivo

J Neurosci 23 : 9199-207.

Authors/Editors: Kopp-Scheinpflug C
Fuchs K
Lippe WR
Tempel BL
Rübsamen R
Publication Date: 2003
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018


The voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel subunit Kv1.1, encoded by the Kcna1 gene, is expressed strongly in the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) and the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) of the auditory pathway. To examine the contribution of the Kv1.1 subunit to the processing of auditory information, in vivo single-unit recordings were made from VCN neurons (bushy cells), axonal endings of bushy cells at MNTB cells (calyces of Held), and MNTB neurons of Kcna1-null (-/-) mice and littermate control (+/+) mice. Thresholds and spontaneous firing rates of VCN and MNTB neurons were not different between genotypes. At higher sound intensities, however, evoked firing rates of VCN and MNTB neurons were significantly lower in -/- mice than +/+ mice. The SD of the first-spike latency (jitter) was increased in VCN neurons, calyces, and MNTB neurons of -/- mice compared with +/+ controls. Comparison along the ascending pathway suggests that the increased jitter found in -/- MNTB responses arises mostly in the axons of VCN bushy cells and/or their calyceal terminals rather than in the MNTB neurons themselves. At high rates of sinusoidal amplitude modulations, -/- MNTB neurons maintained high vector strength values but discharged on significantly fewer cycles of the amplitude-modulated stimulus than +/+ MNTB neurons. These results indicate that in Kcna1-null mice the absence of the Kv1.1 subunit results in a loss of temporal fidelity (increased jitter) and the failure to follow high-frequency amplitude-modulated sound stimulation in vivo.

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