A physiological model for the stimulus dependence of first-spike latency of auditory-nerve fibers

Brain Res. 2008 Jul 18;1220:208-23. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.08.081. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Recent studies have shown a close correspondence between perceptual detection thresholds for sounds in quiet and a measure of neuronal thresholds derived from the stimulus-dependent timing of the first spike of auditory-nerve fibers. In addition, stimulus properties might be encoded by differences in first-spike timing of neurons in the central auditory system. Therefore, the physiological mechanisms underlying first-spike timing are of considerable interest, but are not thoroughly understood. Here, we present a physiological model which accurately explains the observed stimulus dependence of the first-spike latency of auditory-nerve fibers with a minimum number of physiologically plausible parameters. Two of the 5 parameters can be considered constant (at least for the vast majority of fibers), while the other 3 vary in meaningful ways with the fibers' spontaneous discharge rates. The elements of the model and some implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Cochlear Nerve / cytology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology*
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology