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Hear Res. 1991 Nov;56(1-2):246-64.

Chronic intracochlear electrical stimulation in the neonatally deafened cat. II. Temporal properties of neurons in the inferior colliculus.

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Department of Otolaryngology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0732.


The major focus of this study was to define the effects of chronic intracochlear electrical stimulation (ICES) on single unit responses in the inferior colliculus from three experimental groups: 1) normal adults 2) neonatally-deafened/unstimulated adults; and 3) neonatally-deafened/chronically stimulated adults. The major findings include: 1) IC neurons in normal adults showed a diversity of perstimulus responses to ICES which were qualitatively similar to those evoked by acoustic stimuli. They responded with: an onset burst, a sustained discharge, a decrease in their spontaneous activity, or a strong post-stimulus response. The excitatory responses showed either a monotonic or a nonmonotonic increase in activity with increasing stimulus intensity. Response latencies ranged from 5 to over 40 ms. 2) Responses to ICES in normal and deafened/unstimulated animals were virtually indistinguishable from one another. 3) In contrast, responses to ICES in neonatally deafened stimulated animals were different from normal and from deafened, unstimulated animals. Their perstimulus response latencies were significantly shorter, their late response latencies were significantly longer, and the frequency of occurrence of inhibitory and late responses were significantly higher. From these results we conclude that the responses to intracochlear electrical stimulation are directly comparable to those observed following normal acoustic stimulation; that development of cochleotopic organization of the inferior colliculus is not affected by the almost complete lack of normal acoustic input experienced by neonatally deafened animals; and that the basic response properties of IC units are likewise unaffected by neonatal deafening. Moreover, the results suggest that, although the limited regime of electrical stimulation employed in these studies produced no major qualitative distortions in the perstimulus response patterns of IC neurons, it did result in some quantitative changes in those responses.

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