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J Physiol. 2001 Dec 1;537(Pt 2):553-66.

The temporal representation of the delay of iterated rippled noise in the ventral cochlear nucleus of the guinea-pig.

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Centre for the Neural Basis of Hearing, The Physiological Laboratory, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EG, UK.


1. We have examined the temporal discharge patterns of single units from the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) of anaesthetized guinea-pigs in response to iterated rippled noise (IRN). The pitch range evoked by the stimuli was from 32 to 1000 Hz. 2. Single units were classified into four groups using existing classification schemes: primary-like (PL), onset (O), sustained chopper (CS) and transient chopper (CT). For all unit types the delay of the IRN stimuli was well represented in the all-order interspike interval histograms (ISIHs). 3. A subset of the onset units (onset-chopper, OC) showed a clear preference for some delays of the IRN in their first-order interval statistics. We describe this delay preference as 'periodicity tuning'. The delay at which the pitch estimate was at its maximum was designated its best periodicity. The range of best periodicities for OC units was 3.75-13 ms (between 77 and 267 Hz). 4. The other unit types also showed enhancement of the first-order interval statistics at the delay of the IRN. The range of best periodicities was 1.4-8.8 ms (113-714 Hz) for the CT group, 2.25-10.8 ms (93-444 Hz) for the CS group and 0.5-4.6 ms (217-2000 Hz) for the PL group. 5. The correlation between the maximum interval enhancement observed in response to the IRN stimuli and the peak in the first-order ISIH in response to white noise was 0.81 for OC units, 0.72 for CS units, 0.44 for CT units and -0.15 for PL units. 6. These results demonstrate that all unit types in the VCN can enhance the representation of the delay of IRN using first-order interspike intervals (ISIs) over a range of periodicities. CS and OC units show the greatest range of best periodicities and they are well-suited to encode the delay of IRN in their first-order ISIs for a wide range of pitches.

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