Handling of Acoustic Information by the Cochlear Nuclear Complex
Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, 2:00 PM - 3:10 PM
Dept. of Neurosci., Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Neurons in the ventral (VCN) and dorsal (DCN) cochlear nuclei begin to compute where sounds arise and what they mean. The principal cells of the cochlear nuclei transmit information from auditory nerve fibers through multiple parallel ascending pathways, each specialized anatomically and biophysically for its task. Cells in the VCN convey information about the physical properties of sounds. Stellate cells convert the phasic firing of a few auditory nerve inputs to more tonic firing, enabling the population of narrowly tuned stellate cells to encode spectral peaks and valleys and also the envelopes of sounds that are known to be important for speech recognition. Bushy and octopus cells convey information contained in the timing of firing of auditory nerve fibers. In both, brief EPSCs produce brief and sharply timed EPSPs. Bushy and octopus cells support rapid voltage changes because the activation of voltage-gated ion channels of the HCN and KCNA families give them short time constants even at the resting potential. Each bushy cell uses inputs from a few converging auditory nerve fibers to encode the fine structure of sounds in a narrow frequency band. That fine structure is used at the next integrative stage for comparisons of interaural time and intensity that are used for localizing sounds in the azimuth. Octopus cells detect synchrony among large numbers of auditory nerve fibers, compensating with dendritic filtering for the cochlear traveling wave delay that makes the firing of auditory nerve fibers asynchronous. Octopus cells signal the timing of broadband transients that are important in segmenting sounds. The layered, cerebellum-like DCN detects spectral notches that are introduced at high frequencies by the external ear and that serve as cues for localizing sounds monaurally and in elevation. Its principal cells integrate proprioceptive and vestibular information from parallel fibers concerning the position of the pinna and head with inputs from auditory nerve fibers and VCN stellate cells that carry information about the spectra of sounds at the eardrum.
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[Authors]. [Abstract Title]. Program No. XXX.XX. 2012 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. New Orleans, LA: Society for Neuroscience, 2012. Online.
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