Therelative arrival times ofsoundsat both ears constituteanimportant cue for localization of low-frequencysoundsin the horizontal plane.The binauralneuronsofthemedialsuperiorolive(MSO)actascoincidencedetectorsthatfirewheninputsfrombothearsarrivenearsimultaneously. Each principal neuron in the MSO is tuned to its own best interaural time difference (ITD), indicating the presence of an internal delay, a difference in the travel times from either ear to the MSO. According to the stereausis hypothesis, differences in wave propagation along the cochlea could provide the delays necessary for coincidence detection if the ipsilateralandcontralateral inputs originated from different cochlear positions, with different frequency tuning. We therefore investigated the relation between interaural mismatches in frequency tuning and ITD tuning during in vivo loose-patch (juxtacellular) recordings from principal neurons of the MSO of anesthetized female gerbils. Cochlear delays can be bypassed by directly stimulating the auditory nerve; in agreement with the stereausis hypothesis, tuning for timing differences during bilateral electrical stimulation of the round windows differed markedly from ITD tuning in the same cells. Moreover, some neurons showed a frequency tuning mismatch that was sufficiently large to have a potential impact on ITD tuning. However, we did not find a correlation between frequency tuning mismatches and best ITDs. Our data thus suggest that axonal delays dominate ITD tuning.

, , , , ,,
The Journal of Neuroscience
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Plauška, A., van der Heijden, M., & Borst, J.G.G. (J. Gerard G.). (2017). A test of the stereausis hypothesis for sound localization in mammals. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(30), 7278–7289. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0233-17.2017