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Manipulation of inhibition in the owl’s nucleus laminaris and its effects on optic tectum neurons

Takahashi, Yoshifumi and Konishi, Masakazu (2002) Manipulation of inhibition in the owl’s nucleus laminaris and its effects on optic tectum neurons. Neuroscience, 111 (2). pp. 373-378. ISSN 0306-4522. doi:10.1016/S0306-4522(02)00010-6.

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Differences in arrival time and intensity (or level) of sound between the ears serve as cues for localization of sound in many animals. Barn owls use interaural time difference (ITD) and interaural level difference (ILD) for localization in azimuth and elevation, respectively. The owl’s brain processes these two cues in separate pathways. The nucleus laminaris is the first site that detects ITDs by methods of delay lines and coincidence detection. The nucleus ventralis lemnisci lateralis, pars posterior is the first site of processing ILDs. The two pathways merge in the inferior colliculus to give rise to sensitivity to combinations of ITD and ILD. This selectivity is relayed to the optic tectum where neurons are sensitive to both visual and auditory stimuli. The present paper reports the results of manipulating inhibition in the nucleus laminaris and its effects on the optic tectum neurons. Injection of GABA or muscimol (a GABA_A receptor agonist) in the nucleus laminaris reduces the responses of its neurons to ITD. This finding proves that GABA_A receptor-mediated inhibition acts on the nucleus laminaris neurons. The same treatment did not affect the neurons of the nucleus ventralis lemnisci lateralis, pars posterior, whereas it reduced the response of the optic tectum neurons to ITD–ILD pairs. We conclude that although the two pathways are independent, the process of combining ITD and ILD creates a new relationship in which the output of the neuron varies with the amplitude of either input. This conclusion is consistent with the recent finding that the combination sensitivity is due to a multiplication of ITD and ILD inputs.

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Additional Information:© 2002 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. Received 11 June 2001, Revised 24 October 2001, Accepted 30 November 2001, Available online 25 January 2002. This work was supported by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grant DC-00134, and a Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship from the International Human Frontier Science Program to Y.T. We thank Roian Egnor and Ben Arthur for reading the manuscript, Eugene Akutagawa for histological assistance, and Chris Malek for computer support.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)DC-00134
Human Frontier Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:barn owl; GABA; inhibition; nucleus laminaris; optic tectum
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151124-145147487
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Official Citation:Yoshifumi Takahashi, Masakazu Konishi, Manipulation of inhibition in the owl’s nucleus laminaris and its effects on optic tectum neurons, Neuroscience, Volume 111, Issue 2, 10 May 2002, Pages 373-378, ISSN 0306-4522, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62395
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 18:07
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:01

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