Recovery cycle times of inferior colliculus neurons in the awake bat measured with spike counts and latencies
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Neural responses in the mammalian auditory midbrain (inferior colliculus; IC) arise from complex interactions of synaptic excitation, inhibition, and intrinsic properties of the cell. Temporally selective duration-tuned neurons (DTNs) in the IC are hypothesized to arise through the convergence of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs offset in time. Synaptic inhibition can be inferred from extracellular recordings by presenting pairs of pulses (paired tone stimulation) and comparing the evoked responses of the cell to each pulse. We obtained single unit recordings from the IC of the awake big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and used paired tone stimulation to measure the recovery cycle times of DTNs and non-temporally selective auditory neurons. By systematically varying the interpulse interval (IPI) of the paired tone stimulus, we determined the minimum IPI required for a neuron's spike count or its spike latency (first- or last-spike latency) in response to the second tone to recover to within ≥50% of the cell's baseline count or to within 1 SD of it's baseline latency in response to the first tone. Recovery times of shortpass DTNs were significantly shorter than those of bandpass DTNs, and recovery times of bandpass DTNs were longer than allpass neurons not selective for stimulus duration. Recovery times measured with spike counts were positively correlated with those measured with spike latencies. Recovery times were also correlated with first-spike latency (FSL). These findings, combined with previous studies on duration tuning in the IC, suggest that persistent inhibition is a defining characteristic of DTNs. Herein, we discuss measuring recovery times of neurons with spike counts and latencies. We also highlight how persistent inhibition could determine neural recovery times and serve as a potential mechanism underlying the precedence effect in humans. Finally, we explore implications of recovery times for DTNs in the context of bat hearing and echolocation.
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