Gradients of response latencies and temporal precision of auditory neurons extend across the whole inferior colliculus

Sarah J. Offutt, Jessica E. Rose, Kellie J. Crawford, Megan L. Harris, Hubert H. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural responses to acoustic stimulation have long been studied throughout the auditory system to understand how sound information is coded for perception. Within the inferior colliculus (IC), a majority of the studies have focused predominantly on characterizing neural responses within the central region (ICC), as it is viewed as part of the lemniscal system mainly responsible for auditory perception. In contrast, the responses of outer cortices (ICO) have largely been unexplored, though they also function in auditory perception tasks. Therefore, we sought to expand on previous work by completing a three-dimensional (3-D) functional mapping study of the whole IC. We analyzed responses to different pure tone and broadband noise stimuli across all IC subregions and correlated those responses with over 2,000 recording locations across the IC. Our study revealed there are well-organized trends for temporal response parameters across the full IC that do not show a clear distinction at the ICC and ICO border. These gradients span from slow, imprecise responses in the caudal-medial IC to fast, precise responses in the rostral-lateral IC, regardless of subregion, including the fastest responses located in the ICO. These trends were consistent at various acoustic stimulation levels. Weaker spatial trends could be found for response duration and spontaneous activity. Apart from tonotopic organization, spatial trends were not apparent for spectral response properties. Overall, these detailed acoustic response maps across the whole IC provide new insights into the organization and function of the IC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-735
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 the American Physiological Society.


  • auditory midbrain
  • electrophysiology
  • inferior colliculus
  • non-lemniscal
  • temporal coding

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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