Ageing affects dual encoding of periodicity and envelope shape in rat inferior colliculus neurons

Eur J Neurosci. 2017 Jan;45(2):299-311. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13463. Epub 2016 Nov 21.


Extracting temporal periodicities and envelope shapes of sounds is important for listening within complex auditory scenes but declines behaviorally with age. Here, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) and spikes to investigate how ageing affects the neural representations of different modulation rates and envelope shapes in the inferior colliculus of rats. We specifically aimed to explore the input-output (LFP-spike) response transformations of inferior colliculus neurons. Our results show that envelope shapes up to 256-Hz modulation rates are represented in the neural synchronisation phase lags in younger and older animals. Critically, ageing was associated with (i) an enhanced gain in onset response magnitude from LFPs to spikes; (ii) an enhanced gain in neural synchronisation strength from LFPs to spikes for a low modulation rate (45 Hz); (iii) a decrease in LFP synchronisation strength for higher modulation rates (128 and 256 Hz) and (iv) changes in neural synchronisation strength to different envelope shapes. The current age-related changes are discussed in the context of an altered excitation-inhibition balance accompanying ageing.

Keywords: ageing; amplitude modulation; inferior colliculus; neural synchronisation; rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Periodicity
  • Rats
  • Sound