Spike-Frequency Adaptation in the Inferior Colliculus

Neil J. Ingham, David McAlpine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated spike-frequency adaptation of neurons sensitive to interaural phase disparities (IPDs) in the inferior colliculus (IC) of urethane-anesthetized guinea pigs using a stimulus paradigm designed to exclude the influence of adaptation below the level of binaural integration. The IPD-step stimulus consists of a binaural 3,000-ms tone, in which the first 1, 000 ms is held at a neuron's least favorable ("worst") IPD, adapting out monaural components, before being stepped rapidly to a neuron's most favorable ("best") IPD for 300 ms. After some variable interval (1-1,000 ms), IPD is again stepped to the best IPD for 300 ms, before being returned to a neuron's worst IPD for the remainder of the stimulus. Exponential decay functions fitted to the response to best-IPD steps revealed an average adaptation time constant of 52.9 ± 26.4 ms. Recovery from adaptation to best IPD steps showed an average time constant of 225.5 ± 210.2 ms. Recovery time constants were not correlated with adaptation time constants. During the recovery period, adaptation to a 2nd best-IPD step followed similar kinetics to adaptation during the 1st best-IPD step. The mean adaptation time constant at stimulus onset (at worst IPD) was 34.8 ± 19.7 ms, similar to the 38.4 ± 22.1 ms recorded to contralateral stimulation alone. Individual time constants after stimulus onset were correlated with each other but not with time constants during the best-IPD step. We conclude that such binaurally derived measures of adaptation reflect processes that occur above the level of exclusively monaural pathways, and subsequent to the site of primary binaural interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-645
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


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