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J Neurophysiol. 2014 Feb;111(3):565-72. doi: 10.1152/jn.00640.2013. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Slowly emerging glycinergic transmission enhances inhibition in the sound localization pathway of the avian auditory system.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

Localization of low-frequency acoustic stimuli is processed in dedicated neural pathways where coincidence-detecting neurons compare the arrival time of sound stimuli at the two ears, or interaural time disparity (ITD). ITDs occur in the submillisecond range, and vertebrates have evolved specialized excitatory and inhibitory circuitry to compute these differences. Glycinergic inhibition is a computationally significant and prominent component of the mammalian ITD pathway. However, evidence for glycinergic transmission is limited in birds, where GABAergic inhibition has been thought to be the dominant or exclusive inhibitory transmitter. Indeed, previous work showed that GABA antagonists completely eliminate inhibition in avian nuclei specialized for processing temporal features of sound, nucleus magnocellularis (NM) and nucleus laminaris (NL). However, more recent work shows that glycine is coexpressed with GABA in synaptic terminals apposed to neurons in both nuclei (Coleman WL, Fischl MJ, Weimann SR, Burger RM. J Neurophysiol 105: 2405-2420, 2011; Kuo SP, Bradley LA, Trussell LO. J Neurosci 29: 9625-9634, 2009). Here we show complementary evidence of functional glycine receptor (GlyR) expression in NM and NL. Additionally, we show that glycinergic input can be evoked under particular stimulus conditions. Stimulation at high but physiologically relevant rates evokes a slowly emerging glycinergic response in NM and NL that builds over the course of the stimulus. Glycinergic response magnitude was stimulus rate dependent, representing 18% and 7% of the total inhibitory current in NM and NL, respectively, at the end of the 50-pulse, 200-Hz stimulus. Finally, we show that the glycinergic component is functionally relevant, as its elimination reduced inhibition of discharges evoked by current injection into NM neurons.

KEYWORDS:

glycine receptor; inhibition; nucleus laminaris; nucleus magnocellularis; sound localization

PMID:
24198323
PMCID:
PMC3921398
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00640.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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