Response properties of neurons in the inferior colliculus of the monaurally deafened ferret to acoustic stimulation of the intact ear

David McAlpine*, Russell L. Martin, Jennifer E. Mossop, David R. Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Response properties of neurons in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC) were investigated after unilateral cochlear removal at various ages during infancy. Nineteen ferrets had the tight cochlea surgically ablated, either in adulthood or on postnatal day (P) 5, 25, or 40, 3-18 me before recording. Adult ablations were made on the same day as ('acute,' n = 3), or 2-3 me before ('chronic,' n = 3), recording. Two ferrets were left binaurally intact. Single-unit (n = 702) and multiunit (n = 1,819) recordings were made in the ICC of barbiturate-anesthetized ferrets ipsilateral (all ages) or contralateral (P5 and acute adult only) to the intact ear. In binaurally intact animals, tonal stimulation of the contralateral ear evoked excitatory activity at the majority (94%) of recording loci, whereas stimulation of the ipsilateral ear evoked activity at only 33% of recording loci. In acutely ablated animals, the majority of contralateral (90%) and ipsilateral (70%) loci were excited by tonal stimulation of the intact ear. In chronically ablated animals, 80-90% of loci were excited by ipsilateral stimulation. Single-unit thresholds were generally higher for low-best frequency (BF) than for high-BF units, and higher in the ipsilateral than in the contralateral ICC. Analysis of covariance showed highly significant differences between all of the ipsilateral and contralateral groups, but no effects of age at ablation or survival time following ablation, other than that the group ablated at P25 had higher mean ipsilateral thresholds than the groups ablated at P5 or, acutely, in adulthood. Cochlear ablation at P5, 25, or 40 resulted in a significant increase in dynamic ranges of ipsilateral ICC unit rate-intensity functions relative to acutely ablated animals. Dynamic ranges of units in the contralateral ICC of P5-ablated ferrets were also significantly increased compared with those of acutely ablated animals. Cochlear ablation at P5, 25, or 40 resulted in a significant increase in single-unit spontaneous discharge rates in the ICC ipsilateral but not contralateral (P5 only) to the intact ear. These data show that unilateral cochlear removal in adult ferrets leads to a rapid and dramatic increase in the proportion of neurons in the ICC ipsilateral to the intact ear that is excited by acoustic stimulation of that ear. In addition, the data confirm that, in ferrets, cochlear removal in infancy leads to a further increase in responsiveness of individual neurons in the ipsilateral ICC. Finally, the data show that responses in the ICC contralateral to the intact ear are largely but not completely unchanged by unilateral cochlear removal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-779
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume78
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

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