Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 169–176

A computational model for the modulation of the prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex

  • David Fernando Ramirez-Moreno
  • Terrence Joseph Sejnowski
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00422-012-0485-7

Cite this article as:
Ramirez-Moreno, D.F. & Sejnowski, T.J. Biol Cybern (2012) 106: 169. doi:10.1007/s00422-012-0485-7

Abstract

The acoustic startle reflex (ASR), a defensive response, is a contraction of the skeletal and facial muscles in response to an abrupt, intense (> 80 db) auditory stimulus, which has been extensively studied in rats and humans. Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of ASR is the normal suppression of the startle reflex when an intense stimulus is preceded by a weak non-starting pre-stimulus. PPI, a measure of sensory motor gating, is impaired in various neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, and is modulated by cognitive and emotional contexts such as fear and attention. We have modeled the fear modulation of PPI of ASR based on its anatomical substrates and taking into account data from behaving rats and humans. The model replicates the principal features of both phenomena and predicts underlying neural mechanisms. In addition, the model yields testable predictions.

Keywords

Acoustic startle reflexPrepulse inhibitionFear modulationPPI computational model

Abbreviations

ASR

Acoustic startle reflex

PPI

Prepulse inhibition

C

Cochlea

CRN

Cochlear root nucleus

NRPC

Nucleus reticularis pontine caudalis

MN

Motor neuron

IC

Inferior colliculus

SC

Superior colliculus

PTN

Pontine tegmental nucleus

AM

Amygdala

MOD

Modulatory structure

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Fernando Ramirez-Moreno
    • 1
  • Terrence Joseph Sejnowski
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de FísicaUniversidad Autonoma de OccidenteCaliColombia
  2. 2.Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salk InstituteLa JollaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA