Title

Responses of neurons in the rat's ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus to amplitude-modulated tones

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Publication Title

Journal of Neurophysiology

Volume

96

Issue

6

First Page

2905

Last Page

2914

DOI

10.1152/jn.00481.2006

Abstract

Recordings were made from single neurons in the rat's ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus (VNLL) to determine responses to amplitude-modulated (AM) tones. The neurons were first characterized on the basis of their response to tone bursts presented to the contralateral ear and a distinction was made between those with transient onset responses and those with sustained responses. Sinusoidal AM tones were then presented to the contralateral ear with a carrier that matched the neuron's characteristic frequency (CF). Modulation transfer functions were generated on the basis of firing rate (MTFFR) and vector strength (MTFVS). Ninety-two percent of onset neurons that responded continuously to AM tones had band-pass MTFFRs with best modulation frequencies from 10 to 300 Hz. Fifty-four percent of sustained neurons had band-pass MTFFRs with best modulation frequencies from 10 to 500 Hz; other neurons had band-suppressed, all-pass, low-pass, or high-pass functions. Most neurons showed either band-pass or low-pass MTFVS. Responses were well synchronized to the modulation cycle with maximum vector strengths ranging from 0.37 to 0.98 for sustained neurons and 0.78 to 0.99 for onset neurons. The upper frequency limit for response synchrony was higher than that reported for inferior colliculus, but lower than that seen in more peripheral structures. Results suggest that VNLL neurons, especially those with onset responses to tone bursts, are sensitive to temporal features of sounds and narrowly tuned to different modulation rates. However, there was no evidence of a topographic relation between dorsoventral position along the length of VNLL and best modulation frequency as determined by either firing rate or vector strength. Copyright © 2006 The American Physiological Society.

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