Intracellular responses and morphology of rat ventral complex of the lateral lemniscus neurons in vivo Academic Article uri icon


  • The function of the ventral and intermediate nuclei of the lateral lemniscus (VNLL and INLL), collectively termed ventral complex of the lateral lemniscus (VCLL), is unclear. Several studies have suggested that it plays a role in coding the temporal aspects of sound. In our study, a sample (n = 161) of intracellular responses to dichotically presented noise or tone bursts was collected from the VCLL of urethane-anesthetized rats in vivo. Intracellular recordings revealed six distinct response types to tones, distinguished by their synaptic and membrane characteristics as well as firing pattern. Three of these response types were correlated with distinct cellular morphologies revealed by intracellular injection of neurobiotin. 3D reconstructions of recorded neurons within the VCLL showed the spatial distribution of various response properties, including response type, laterality, characteristic frequency (CF), and binaural influences. Cells that responded to monaural (55%) or binaural (45%) stimulation were distributed throughout the VCLL. Almost all VCLL units were responsive to contralateral stimulation (97%). Most neurons were excited by contralateral stimulation (83%), many exclusively (43%), and some in conjunction with ipsilateral inhibition (28%) or excitation (12%). The INLL contained mostly binaural neurons (65%), typically with ipsilateral inhibition and contralateral excitation. These results indicate that the VCLL is not a monaural structure and there is a dorsal-ventral segregation of binaural and monaural cells. 3D reconstructions of intracellular CFs did not reveal the presence of any tonotopic arrangement within the VCLL. Presumably, the proposed timing role of this structure does not require a systematic representation of tonal frequency.

publication date

  • September 10, 2006