Response properties of single auditory nerve fibers in the mouse

J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jan;93(1):557-69. doi: 10.1152/jn.00574.2004. Epub 2004 Sep 29.


The availability of transgenic and mutant lines makes the mouse a valuable model for study of the inner ear, and a powerful window into cochlear function can be obtained by recordings from single auditory nerve (AN) fibers. This study provides the first systematic description of spontaneous and sound-evoked discharge properties of AN fibers in mouse, specifically in CBA/CaJ and C57BL/6 strains, both commonly used in auditory research. Response properties of 196 AN fibers from CBA/CaJ and 58 from C57BL/6 were analyzed, including spontaneous rates (SR), tuning curves, rate versus level functions, dynamic range, response adaptation, phase-locking, and the relation between SR and these response properties. The only significant interstrain difference was the elevation of high-frequency thresholds in C57BL/6. In general, mouse AN fibers showed similar responses to other mammals: sharpness of tuning increased with characteristic frequency, which ranged from 2.5 to 70 kHz; SRs ranged from 0 to 120 sp/s, and fibers with low SR (<1 sp/s) had higher thresholds, and wider dynamic ranges than fibers with high SR. Dynamic ranges for mouse high-SR fibers were smaller (<20 dB) than those seen in other mammals. Phase-locking was seen for tone frequencies <4 kHz. Maximum synchronization indices were lower than those in cat but similar to those found in guinea pig.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Chinchilla / physiology
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Gerbillinae / physiology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Rats
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / physiology*