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Comparative post-hearing development of inhibitory inputs to the lateral superior olive in gerbils and mice

J Neurophysiol 106: 1443-53

Authors/Editors: Walcher J
Hassfurth B
Grothe B
Koch U
Publication Date: 2011
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018

Abstract

Interaural intensity differences are analyzed in neurons of the lateral superior olive (LSO) by integration of an inhibitory input from the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB), activated by sound from the contralateral ear, with an excitatory input from the ipsilateral cochlear nucleus. The early postnatal refinement of this inhibitory MNTB-LSO projection along the tonotopic axis of the LSO has been extensively studied. However, little is known to what extent physiological changes at these inputs also occur after the onset of sound evoked activity. Using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of LSO neurons in acute brainstem slices we analyzed the developmental changes of inhibitory synaptic currents evoked by MNTB fiber stimulation occurring after hearing onset. We compared these results in gerbils and mice, two species frequently used in auditory research. Our data show that neither the number of presumed input fibers nor the conductance of single fibers significantly changed after hearing onset. Also the amplitude of miniature inhibitory currents remained constant during this developmental period. In contrast, the kinetics of inhibitory synaptic currents greatly accelerated after hearing onset. We conclude that tonotopic refinement of inhibitory projections to the LSO is largely completed before the onset of hearing, whereas acceleration of synaptic kinetics occurs to a large part after hearing onset and might thus be dependent on proper auditory experience. Surprisingly, inhibitory input characteristics as well as basic membrane properties of LSO neurons were rather similar in gerbils and mice.

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