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Binaural response properties of low-frequency neurons in the gerbil dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus

J Neurophysiol 96: 1425-40

Authors/Editors: Siveke I
Pecka M
Seidl AH
Baudoux S
Grothe B
Publication Date: 2006
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018


Differences in intensity and arrival time of sounds at the two ears, interaural intensity and time differences (IID, ITD), are the chief cues for sound localization. Both cues are initially processed in the superior olivary complex (SOC), which projects to the dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus (DNLL) and the auditory midbrain. Here we present basic response properties of low-frequency (< 2 kHz) DNLL neurons and their binaural sensitivity to ITDs and IIDs in the anesthetized gerbil. We found many neurons showing binaural properties similar to those reported for SOC neurons. IID-properties were similar to that of the contralateral lateral superior olive (LSO). A majority of cells had an ITD sensitivity resembling that of either the ipsilateral medial superior olive (MSO) or the contralateral LSO. A smaller number of cells displayed intermediate types of ITD sensitivity. In neurons with MSO-like response ITDs that evoked maximal discharges were mostly outside of the range of ITDs the gerbil naturally experiences. The maxima of the first derivative of their ITD-functions (steepest slope), however, were well within the physiological range of ITDs. This finding is consistent with the concept of a population rather than a place code for ITDs. Moreover, we describe several other binaural properties as well as physiological and anatomical evidence for a small but significant input from the contralateral MSO. The large number of ITD-sensitive low-frequency neurons implicates a substantial role for the DNLL in ITD processing and promotes this nucleus as a suitable model for further studies on ITD-coding.

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