Functional correlates of characteristic frequency in single cochlear nerve fibers of the Mongolian gerbil

J Comp Physiol A. 1990 Aug;167(3):329-38. doi: 10.1007/BF00192568.


Single-unit recordings obtained from the auditory nerve of the Mongolian gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus, revealed functional differences in the response properties of neurons tuned to low and high frequencies. The distribution of neural thresholds displayed a distinct rise for auditory nerve fibers with characteristic frequencies (CFs) between 3-5 kHz. This frequency band also marked abrupt changes in both the distribution of spontaneous discharge rates and the shape of the neural tuning curve. For neurons of all CFs, spontaneous firing rates were inversely related to neural threshold but unrelated to sharpness of neural tuning. The range of CF thresholds encountered, even when data from many animals were combined, rarely exceeded 20 dB, suggesting that cochlear nerve responses obtained from this species display little inter-animal variability. These results are compared with similar data from other species and discussed in terms of recent studies on sound communication and cochlear anatomy in gerbils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Gerbillinae / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*