Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 175–184 | Cite as

Response properties of neurons in nuclei of the mouse inferior colliculus

  • James F. Willott
  • Gregory P. Urban


  1. 1.

    Extracellular recordings were obtained from 414 single-units in the inferior colliculi (IC) of tranquilized inbred C57BL/6J mice.

  2. 2.

    Spontaneous activity was encountered in 48% of units in the ventrolateral nucleus (ICVL), in 47% of units in the pericentral and external nuclei (ICP-ICX), and in 39% of units in the dorsomedial nucleus (ICDM).

  3. 3.

    PSTH response patterns typical of IC neurons of other species were found in the mouse (Figs. 2 and 3). These included phasic on and or bursts, off-, sustained excitation, “pauser,” “chopper,” and sustained inhibition of spontaneous activity. Despite the mouse's poor low-frequency hearing, phase-locked responses also occurred. Responses with latencies of up to 100–200 ms which were only driven by relatively long-duration tones were also observed. Other units showed off-suppression of spontaneous activity which could last for several seconds following long-duration tones (Fig. 3).

  4. 4.

    Sustained responses (excitatory and inhibitory) were most prominent in ICVL units, phasic responses in ICP-ICX units, and long-latency and off-responses in ICDM units. Habituation and “sluggish” responses were often found in ICP-ICX units, but rarely were seen in ICVL units.

  5. 5.

    Threshold tuning curves for ICVL units were typified by sharpness and low thresholds, whereas tuning curves of ICP-ICX units were often broad, had higher thresholds, and were difficult to obtain (Figs. 6 and 7). Suprathreshold response ranges of ICVL units strongly represented frequencies of 10–25 kHz, the mouse's most sensitive frequency range. Distributions of response ranges for units in other IC nuclei were more evenly distributed and included more low frequencies (Fig. 8).



Spontaneous Activity Inferior Colliculus Tuning Curve Response Range Sustained Inhibition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. Willott
    • 1
  • Gregory P. Urban
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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