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J Acoust Soc Am. 1992 Apr;91(4 Pt 1):2096-109.

A computer model of a cochlear-nucleus stellate cell: responses to amplitude-modulated and pure-tone stimuli.

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Department of Human Sciences, University of Technology, Loughborough, United Kingdom.


A computer model of a ventral-cochlear-nucleus (VCN) stellate cell with chop-S type response properties is presented and evaluated. The model is based on a simplified model of spike generation preceded by a stage that simulates dendritic low-pass filtering. Input to the model is in the form of simulated auditory-nerve spikes produced by a model of the auditory periphery [Meddis and Hewitt, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 89, 2866-2882 (1991)]. Outputs from the stellate-cell model are shown to qualitatively replicate a wide range of typical in vivo responses. These include: (a) realistic onset and steady-state rate-level functions, (b) "chopper"-type post-stimulus time histogram responses; (c) typical "chop-S"-type neuron responses characterized by a low coefficient of variance (CV less than 0.3) of interspike intervals as a function of time; (d) level-dependent amplitude-modulation transfer functions; (e) intrinsic oscillations in responses to pure-tone stimuli; (f) amplitude-modulation encoding over a wide dynamic range; and (g) frequency-limited phase locking to pure tones. It is shown that these responses can be explained primarily by the membrane properties of the cells. More specifically, how the model encodes signal amplitude modulation was studied and an explanation was suggested for the generation of the bandpass modulation transfer functions. Such functions are observed neurally in response to amplitude-modulated stimuli presented at moderate to high signal levels.

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