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Interaction of excitation and inhibition in processing of pure tone and amplitude-modulated stimuli in the medial superior olive of the mustached bat

J Neurophysiol 71: 706-21

Authors/Editors: Grothe B
Publication Date: 1994
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 1976 - 2000
1. In mammals with good low-frequency hearing, the medial superior olive (MSO) processes interaural time or phase differences that are important cues for sound localization. Its cells receive excitatory projections from both cochlear nuclei and are thought to function as coincidence detectors. The response patterns of MSO neurons in most mammals are predominantly sustained. In contrast, the MSO in the mustached bat is a monaural nucleus containing neurons with phasic discharge patterns. These neurons receive projections from the contralateral anteroventral cochlear nucleus (AVCN) and the ipsilateral medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB). 2. To further investigate the role of the MSO in the bat, the responses of 252 single units in the MSO to pure tones and sinusoidal amplitude-modulated (SAM) stimuli were recorded. The results confirmed that the MSO in the mustached bat is tonotopically organized, with low frequencies in the dorsal part and high frequencies in the ventral part. The 61-kHz region is overrepresented. Most neurons tested (88%) were monaural and discharged only in response to contralateral stimuli. Their response could not be influenced by stimulation of the ipsilateral ear. 3. Only 11% of all MSO neurons were spontaneously active. In these neurons the spontaneous discharge rate was suppressed during the stimulus presentation. 4. The majority of cells (85%) responded with a phasic discharge pattern. About one-half (51%) responded with a level-independent phasic ON response. Other phasic response patterns included phasic OFF or phasic ON-OFF, depending on the stimulus frequency. Neurons with ON-OFF discharge patterns were most common in the 61-kHz region and absent in the high-frequency region. 5. Double tone experiments showed that at short intertone intervals the ON response to the second stimulus or the OFF response to the first stimulus was inhibited. 6. In neuropharmacological experiments, glycine applied to MSO neurons (n = 71) inhibited any tone-evoked response. In the presence of the glycine antagonist strychnine the response patterns changed from phasic to sustained (n = 35) and the neurons responded to both tones presented in double tone experiments independent of the intertone interval (n = 5). The effects of strychnine were reversible. 7. Twenty of 21 neurons tested with sinusoidally amplitude-modulated (SAM) signals exhibited low-pass or band-pass filter characteristics. Tests with SAM signals also revealed a weak temporal summation of inhibition in 13 of the 21 cells tested.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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