Neuronal responses to amplitude-modulated and pure-tone stimuli in the guinea pig inferior colliculus, and their modification by broadband noise

J Acoust Soc Am. 1989 May;85(5):1978-94. doi: 10.1121/1.397851.


Neuronal responses were recorded to pure and to sinusoidally amplitude-modulated (AM) tones at the characteristic frequency (CF) in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus of anesthetized guinea pigs. Temporal (synchronized) and mean-rate measures were derived from period histograms locked to the stimulus modulation waveform to characterize the modulation response. For stimuli presented in quiet, the modulation gain at low frequencies of modulation (approx less than 50 Hz) was inversely proportional to the neuron's mean firing rate in response to both the modulated stimulus and to a pure tone at an equivalent level. In 43% of units the mean discharge rates in response to the AM stimuli were greatest for those modulation frequencies that generated the largest temporal responses. These discharge-rate maxima occurred at signal intensities corresponding to the steeply sloping part of the neuron's pure-tone rate-intensity function (RIF). The change in mean-rate response to modulated stimuli, as a function of intensity, was qualitatively similar to the pure-tone RIF. Adding broadband noise to the modulated stimulus increased the neuron's temporal response to low modulation frequencies. This increase in modulation gain was correlated with mean firing rate in response to the modulation but did not bear a simple relationship to the noise-induced shift in the RIF measured for a pure tone.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Noise*