Azimuthal receptive fields are shaped by GABAergic inhibition in the inferior colliculus of the mustache bat

J Neurophysiol. 1994 Sep;72(3):1080-102. doi: 10.1152/jn.1994.72.3.1080.


1. In this study we examine the effects of GABAergic inhibition on the response properties and the constructed azimuthal receptive fields of 54 excitatory/inhibitory (EI) neurons tuned to 60 kHz in the inferior colliculus of the mustache bat. The constructed azimuthal receptive fields predict the spike counts that would be evoked by different intensities of 60-kHz sounds presented from each of 13 azimuthal locations in the frontal sound field. 2. Action potentials were recorded with a micropipette attached to a multibarrel glass electrode. Bicuculline, an antagonist specific for gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptors, was iontophoretically applied through the multibarrel electrode. Both monaural and binaural response properties were initially recorded at a variety of interaural intensity disparities (IIDs) and absolute intensities, and the same response properties were subsequently assessed while GABAergic inhibition was blocked by bicuculline. Azimuthal receptive fields both before and during the application of bicuculline were constructed from response properties obtained with earphones after correcting for the directional properties of the ear and the IIDs generated by 60-kHz sounds presented from a variety of azimuthal locations. 3. Bicuculline had virtually no effect on either the monaural or binaural properties of 19 cells (35%). The constructed azimuthal receptive fields of these cells were also unaffected by bicuculline. Presumably the properties of these cells were formed in a lower nucleus, most likely the contralateral lateral superior olive (LSO), and were imposed on the collicular cell via the crossed projection from the LSO to the inferior colliculus, which is known to be excitatory. 4. In more than half of the neurons (65%) GABAergic inhibition influenced one or more features of the cell's response properties and thus its azimuthal receptive field. Some response properties were formed in the colliculus through GABAergic inhibition, whereas others appear to have been shaped initially in a lower nucleus and then further modified by GABAergic inhibition in the inferior colliculus. Moreover, a number of features of GABAergic inhibition that acted on inferior collicular cells were evoked by stimulation of the contralateral (excitatory) ear, whereas other features were influenced by stimulation of the ipsilateral (inhibitory) ear. 5. In 20 cells (37%) blocking GABAergic inhibition reduced or abolished the inhibition evoked by the ipsilateral ear. The receptive fields of cells in which the ipsilaterally evoked inhibition was reduced by bicuculline expanded further into the ipsilateral sound field than they did before bicuculline.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / drug effects
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Dichotic Listening Tests
  • Dominance, Cerebral / drug effects
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Echolocation / drug effects
  • Echolocation / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Inferior Colliculi / drug effects
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Loudness Perception / drug effects
  • Loudness Perception / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / drug effects
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Pitch Discrimination / drug effects
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Sound Localization / drug effects
  • Sound Localization / physiology
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Bicuculline