Responses to combinations of tones in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus.


Responses to combinations of tones in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus.


Portfors C V; Wenstrup J J


Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology : JARO




Combination-sensitive neurons integrate specific spectral and temporal elements in biologically important sounds, and they may underlie the analysis of biosonar and social vocalizations. Combination-sensitive neurons are found in the forebrain of a variety of vertebrates. In the mustached bat, they also occur in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICC). However, it is not known where combination-sensitive response properties emerge. To address this question, we used a two-tone paradigm to examine responses of single units to combination stimuli in a brainstem structure, the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus (NLL). We recorded and histologically localized 101 single units in the NLL. The majority (82%) of units had a single excitatory frequency tuning curve. Seven units had two separate excitatory frequency tuning curves but displayed no combinatorial interaction. Twelve units were combination-sensitive. Of these, three units were facilitated by the combination of two separate frequency bands and nine units were inhibited by combinatorial stimuli. The three facilitatory neurons had excitatory responses tuned to the second harmonic constant frequency (CF2, 57-60 kHz) component of the biosonar signal and were facilitated by a second signal within the first harmonic (Hl, 24-30 kHz) of the biosonar call. Most of the inhibitory interactions occurred between signals in the frequency bands associated with the frequency-modulated (FM) components of the biosonar call. The strongest combinatorial effects (facilitatory and inhibitory) were elicited by simultaneous onset of the two signals (i.e., 0 ms delay). All combination-sensitive units were in the intermediate nucleus of the NLL (INLL), which in bats is a hypertrophied structure that projects strongly to combination-sensitive neurons in the ICC. Thus, the combination-sensitive neurons in the INLL may impart their response properties onto ICC neurons. However, the small number of facilitatory combination-sensitive neurons in the NLL suggests that the majority of these combinatorial responses originate in the ICC.


Acoustic Stimulation/methods; Animals; Auditory Pathways/*physiology; Brain Stem/*physiology; Chiroptera; Electrophysiology; Neurons/physiology; Reaction Time/physiology


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Portfors C V; Wenstrup J J, “Responses to combinations of tones in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 18, 2021,

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