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Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 12;154(1):245-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.02.039. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Whole cell recordings of intrinsic properties and sound-evoked responses from the inferior colliculus.

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Section of Neurobiology, Institute for Neuroscience and Center for Perceptual Systems, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Response features of inferior colliculus (IC) neurons to both current injections and tone bursts were studied with in vivo whole cell recordings in awake Mexican free-tailed bats. Of 160 cells recorded, 95% displayed one of three general types of discharge patterns in response to the injection of positive current: 1) sustained discharges; 2) adapting discharges; and 3) onset-bursting discharges. Sustained neurons were the most common type (N=78), followed by onset-bursting (N=57). The least common type was adapting (N=17). In 90 neurons the profiles of synaptic and discharge activity evoked by tones of different frequencies at 50 dB SPL were recorded. Three major tone-evoked response profiles were obtained; 1) neurons dominated by excitation (N=32) in which tones evoked excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs) or EPSPs with discharges over a range of frequencies with little or no evidence of inhibitory post-synaptic potentials (IPSPs) evoked by frequencies that flanked the excitation; 2) neurons that had an excitatory frequency region in which discharges were evoked that was flanked by frequencies that evoked predominantly IPSPs (N=26); 3) neurons in which all frequencies evoked IPSPs with little or no depolarizations (N=32). The question we asked is whether IC cells that express a particular profile of PSPs and discharges to acoustic stimulation also have the same current-evoked response profile. We show that, with one exception, the intrinsic features of an IC neuron are not correlated with the pattern of its synaptic innervation; the two features are unrelated in the majority of IC cells. The exception is a subtype of inhibitory dominated cell where most frequencies evoked IPSPs to both the onset and to the offset of the tone bursts. In those cells injected current steps always evoked an onset-bursting response.

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