Binaural neurons in the mustache bat's inferior colliculus. I. Responses of 60-kHz EI units to dichotic sound stimulation

J Neurophysiol. 1988 Oct;60(4):1369-83. doi: 10.1152/jn.1988.60.4.1369.


1. Single-unit responses to closed-field, dichotic sound stimuli were obtained from EI neurons in the mustache bat's inferior colliculus; these neurons are excited by sound to the contralateral ear and inhibited by sound to the ipsilateral ear. All units were tuned to the 60-kHz component of the bat's sonar signal. The goal of the study was to describe basic features of the sensitivity to interaural intensity differences (IIDs) and sound intensity among an isofrequency population of EI neurons. The following paper describes how these features of IID sensitivity shape the response to free-field sounds. 2. Three features of IID sensitivity were considered. The inhibitory threshold (Figs. 1 and 2) described the IID at which inhibitory effects became pronounced; it was defined as the IID at which the excitatory response to contralateral sound was suppressed by 50%. Most units (68%) were inhibited at positive IID values, for which the ipsilateral (inhibitory) sound was more intense. The maximum inhibition (Figs. 1 and 3) described the strength of ipsilateral inhibition; it was defined as the percent that each unit was inhibited below its response to monaural stimulation of the contralateral ear. The majority of units (58%) were almost totally suppressed by a sufficiently intense ipsilateral sound. The IID range (Figs. 1 and 4) described the sharpness or slope of the IID cutoff; it was defined as the IID range over which the response changed from nearly unsuppressed (80% of maximum response) to near maximum suppression (20% of maximum response). Most units (71%) had IID ranges of less than or equal to 15 dB. 3. A significant correlation between the inhibitory threshold and the maximum inhibition (Fig. 5) among the sample of EI units suggests that some common neural mechanisms underlie these features of IID sensitivity. 4. The response of EI neurons to binaural stimuli was a function of sound intensity as well as IID (Fig. 7). In part, this resulted from intensity-dependent changes in properties of binaural inhibition. For most units, basic measures of IID sensitivity changed to a limited extent as the sound intensity changed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Chiroptera
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*