Inferior colliculus responses to dual-site intralamina stimulation in the ventral cochlear nucleus Academic Article uri icon


  • A major limitation of the present auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is its inability to access the tonotopic organization of the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN). A previous study by our group indicated that stimulation of single sites within a given VCN frequency region did not always elicit frequency-specific responses within the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CIC) and in some cases did not elicit a response at all. For this study, we hypothesized that sequential stimulation (with a short interpulse delay of 320 μsec) of two VCN sites in similar frequency regions would enhance responsiveness in CIC neurons. Multiunit neural recordings in response to pure tones were obtained at 58 VCN and 164 CIC sites in anesthetized rats. Among the 58 VCN sites, 39 pairs of sites with similar characteristic frequencies were chosen for electrical stimulation. Each member of a VCN pair was electrically stimulated individually, followed by sequential stimulation of the pair, while recording CIC responses. On average, CIC sites were found to respond to dual-site VCN stimulation with significantly lower thresholds, wider dynamic ranges, a greater extent of activation with increasing current levels, and a higher degree of frequency specificity compared with single-site stimulation. Although these effects were positive for the most part, in some cases dual-site stimulation resulted in increased CIC thresholds and decreased dynamic ranges, extent of activation, and frequency specificity. The results suggest that multisite stimulation within VCN isofrequency laminae using penetrating electrodes could significantly improve ABI stimulation strategies and implant performance.


publication date

  • October 15, 2010