In vivo intracellular characteristics of inferior colliculus neurons in guinea pigs

Brain Res. 1997 Jun 6;759(1):24-31. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(97)00123-6.


Intracellular in vivo recordings of physiologically identified inferior colliculus central nucleus (ICc) auditory neurons (n = 71) were carried out in anesthetized guinea pigs. The neuronal membrane characteristics are described showing mainly quantitative differences with a previous report [Nelson, P.G. and Erulkar, S.D., J. Neurophysiol., 26 (1963) 908-923]. The spontaneous spike activity was consistent with the discharge pattern of most extracellularly recorded units. The action potentials showed different spike durations, short and long, and some of them exhibited hyperpolarizing post-potentials. There were also differences in firing rate. The ICc neurons exhibited irregular activity producing spike trains as well as long silent periods (without spikes). Intracellular current injection revealed membrane potential adaptation and shifts that outlasted the electrical stimuli by 20-30 ms. Both evoked synaptic potentials and the spike activity in response to click and tone-burst stimulation were analyzed. Depolarizing-hyperpolarizing synaptic potentials were found in response to contralateral and binaural sound stimulation that far outlasted the stimulus (up to 90 ms). When ipsilaterally stimulated, inhibitory responses and no-responses were also recorded. Although few cells were studied, a similar phenomenon was observed using tone-burst stimulation; moreover, a good correlation was obtained between membrane potential shifts and the triggered spikes (input-output relationship). These in vivo results demonstrate the synaptic activity underlying many of the extracellularly recorded discharge patterns. The data are consistent with the known multi-synaptic ascending pathway by which signals arrive at the ICc as well as the descending corticofugal input that may contribute to the generation of long duration post-synaptic potentials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Ear / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Inferior Colliculi / cytology
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Synaptic Transmission