Responses of chopper units in the ventral cochlear nucleus of the anaesthetised guinea pig to clicks-in-noise and click trains

Hear Res. 1997 Aug;110(1-2):234-50. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(97)00084-1.


Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) have been measured with clicks, clicks masked by noise, click trains and pseudorandom maximum length sequences (MLS) of clicks. To investigate the neuronal populations contributing to the ABR under these stimulation conditions, we measured the extracellular responses of ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) units in the urethane-anaesthetised guinea pig. We studied 23 chopper, 7 primary-like and 7 onset units. This report focuses on the responses from chopper units. The probability of discharge for chopper units increased with increasing click level reaching nearly 100% in many units, over a range of about 20-30 dB. Following each response to a click there was a 5-10 ms suppression of the spontaneous or noise evoked activity. As the level of the noise was increased over a range of 20-30 dB, the response to the clicks gradually decreased leading to a complete abolition of the click response at high noise levels. In a few units, low level noise produced a facilitation of the response to single clicks. In response to constant level equally spaced click trains, discharge probability increased with increasing minimum pulse interval (MPI), approaching 100% for MPIs of 4-8 ms in some units. The recovery afforded by the gaps in the MLS train often resulted in higher discharge probability for MLS than click trains with the same MPI, while response probabilities for MLS and click trains were similar when compared at equivalent average click rates. At short MPIs (0.5 and 1.0 ms), peri stimulus time histograms in response to click trains resembled those to best frequency (BF) tones and noisebursts, with chopping peaks unrelated to unit BF. VCN units show highly synchronised and reliable responses to click trains, MLS trains and clicks masked by noise. The decrease in discharge rate and increase in latency of chopper units with decreasing click level, increasing click rate and increasing masker level parallel the peak amplitude and latency changes observed in the auditory brainstem response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Statistics as Topic