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Hear Res. 2011 Sep;279(1-2):43-50. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2011.03.013. Epub 2011 Apr 3.

Dynamics of binaural processing in the mammalian sound localization pathway--the role of GABA(B) receptors.

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  • 1Division of Neurobiology, Department Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich, Großhaderner Str. 2-4, D-82152 Martinsried-Planegg, Germany.


The initial binaural processing in the superior olive represents the fastest computation known in the entire mammalian brain. Although the binaural system has to perform under very different and often highly dynamic acoustic conditions, the integration of binaural information in the superior olivary complex (SOC) has not been considered to be adaptive or dynamic itself. Recent evidence, however, shows that the initial processing of interaural level and interaural time differences relies on well-adjusted interactions of both the excitatory and the inhibitory projections, respectively. Under static conditions, these inputs seem to be tightly balanced, but may also require dynamic adjustment for proper function when the acoustic environment changes. GABA(B) receptors are at least one mechanism rendering the system more dynamic than considered so far. A comprehensive description of how binaural processing in the SOC is dynamically regulated by GABA(B) receptors in adults and in early development is important for understanding how spatial auditory processing changes with acoustic context.

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