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The medial nucleus of the trapezoid body: comparative physiology

Neuroscience 154: 160-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.01.088. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Authors/Editors: Kopp-Scheinpflug C
Tolnai S
Malmierca MS
Rübsamen R
Publication Date: 2008
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018


Principal cells of the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) receive their excitatory input through large somatic terminals, the calyces of Held, which arise from axons of globular bushy cells located in the contralateral ventral cochlear nucleus. Discharges of MNTB neurons are characterized by high stimulus evoked firing rates, temporally precise onset responses, and a high degree of phase-locking to either pure tones or stimulus envelopes. Since the calyx of Held synapse is accessible to in vitro and to in vivo recordings, it serves as one of the most elaborate models for studying synaptic transmission in the mammalian brain. Although in such studies, the major emphasis is on synaptic physiology, the interpretation of the data will benefit from an understanding of the MNTB's contribution to auditory signal processing, including possible functional differences in different species. This implies the consideration of possible functional differences in different species. Here, we compare single unit recordings from MNTB principal cells in vivo in three different rodent species: gerbil, mouse and rat. Because of their good low-frequency hearing gerbils are often used in in vivo preparations, while mice and rats are predominantly used in slice preparations. We show that MNTB units in all three species exhibit high firing rates and precise onset-timing. Still there are species-specific specializations that might suggest the preferential use of one species over the others, depending on the scope of the respective investigation.

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