Response map properties of units in the dorsal cochlear nucleus of barbiturate-anesthetized gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Hear Res. 1997 Mar;105(1-2):85-104. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(96)00196-7.


The response map scheme introduced by Evans and Nelson (1973) and modified by others, including Davis et al. (1996) for use with gerbils, has been used primarily for classifying units recorded in the cochlear nucleus of unanesthetized decerebrate preparations. Units lacking spontaneous activity (SpAc) have been classified as either type I/III or type II units based on the relative strength of their responses to broad-band noise compared to their responses to best-frequency (BF) tones. The relative noise index (rho), a ratio of these responses after SpAc is subtracted out, provides a convenient measure of this relative strength. In this paper, responses of 320 units recorded in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) of barbiturate-anesthetized gerbils to short-duration BF tones and broad-band noise were recorded. Since 87.5% of these units lacked SpAc, their response maps resembled those of type II and type I/III units. Units were characterized by rho and the normalized slope (m) of a best line fit to the BF rate versus level plot starting from the sound level corresponding to the first inflection point of the rate curve (typically its maximum value or the start of its sloping saturation). The distributions of rho and m values do not form distinct clusters as they do for units in the decerebrate preparation. Thus, the criteria developed for classifying DCN units in the decerebrate preparation do not appear appropriate for units in the barbiturate-anesthetized preparation. Deposits of horseradish peroxidase were used to locate 52 units. Most of the low SpAc units, 56% with poor noise responses (5/9) and nearly 70% with strong noise responses (25/36), and nearly all of the high SpAc units (6/7), were located either within or below the fusiform cell layer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Barbiturates / administration & dosage
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology*
  • Decerebrate State
  • Female
  • Gerbillinae
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Noise
  • Sound Localization


  • Barbiturates
  • Horseradish Peroxidase