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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Jul;98(1):454-66. Epub 2007 May 16.

Comparison of responses of neurons in the mouse inferior colliculus to current injections, tones of different durations, and sinusoidal amplitude-modulated tones.

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Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We made in vivo whole cell patch-clamp recordings from the inferior colliculus of young-adult, anesthetized C57/Bl6 mice to compare the responses to constant-current injections with the responses to tones of different duration or to sinusoidal amplitude-modulated (SAM) tones. We observed that voltage-dependent ion channels contributed in several ways to the response to tones. A sustained response to long tones was observed only in cells showing little accommodation during current injection. Cells showing burst-onset firing during current injection showed a small response to SAM tones, whereas burst-sustained cells showed a good response to SAM tones. The hyperpolarization-activated nonselective cation channel I(h) had a special role in shaping the responses: I(h) was associated with an increased excitability, with chopper and pauser responses, and with an afterhyperpolarization following tones. Synaptic properties were more important in determining the responses to tones of different durations. A short-latency inhibitory response appeared to contribute to the long-pass response in some cells and short-pass and band-pass neurons were characterized by their slow recovery from synaptic adaptation. Cells that recovered slowly from synaptic adaptation showed a relatively small response to SAM tones. Our results show an important role for both intrinsic membrane properties -- most notably the presence of I(h) and the extent of accommodation -- and synaptic adaptation in shaping the response to tones in the inferior colliculus.

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