Monaural and Binaural Inhibition Underlying Duration-Tuned Neurons in the Inferior Colliculus
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Duration-tuned neurons (DTNs) in the mammalian inferior colliculus (IC) arise from a combination of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. Previous research has shown that the inhibition responsible for creating DTNs has a shorter latency than that of excitation and lasts longer than the stimulus duration. We used monotic and dichotic paired tone stimulation and recorded responses of DTNs from the IC of the bat to assess the relative contributions of each ear in forming duration-tuned circuits. The stimulus consisted of a short best duration (BD) excitatory tone and a longer duration nonexcitatory (NE) tone. In the monotic condition, when the BD and NE tones were presented to the contralateral ear and were sufficiently close in time, the NE tone always suppressed spikes evoked by the BD tone. In the dichotic condition, when the BD tone was presented to the contralateral ear and the NE tone to the ipsilateral ear, half of DTNs no longer showed spike suppression to the NE tone. Of those DTNs with suppression in both conditions, the latency of the inhibition was shorter and the duration of the inhibition was longer in the monotic condition. Therefore, in the monotic condition, DTNs received a contralaterally evoked inhibitory input that preceded the excitatory input to the same neuron. In the dichotic condition, DTNs received an ipsilaterally evoked inhibitory input that was weaker, longer in latency, and shorter in duration than the inputs from the contralateral ear. These findings indicate that the neural mechanisms that create DTNs in the IC are monaural.
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