Neural integration and enhancement from the inferior colliculus up to different layers of auditory cortex

Malgorzata M. Straka, Dillon Schendel, Hubert H. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


While the cochlear implant has successfully restored hearing to many deaf patients, it cannot benefit those without a functional auditory nerve or an implantable cochlea. As an alternative, the auditory midbrain implant (AMI) has been developed and implanted into deaf patients. Consisting of a single-shank array, the AMI is designed for stimulation along the tonotopic gradient of the inferior colliculus (ICC). Although the AMI can provide frequency cues, it appears to insufficiently transmit temporal cues for speech understanding because repeated stimulation of a single site causes strong suppressive and refractory effects. Applying the electrical stimulation to at least two sites within an isofrequency lamina can circumvent these refractory processes. Moreover, coactivation with short intersite delays (<5 ms) can elicit cortical activation which is enhanced beyond the summation of activity induced by the individual sites. The goal of our study was to further investigate the role of the auditory cortex in this enhancement effect. In guinea pigs, we electrically stimulated two locations within an ICC lamina or along different laminae with varying interpulse intervals (0-10 ms) and recorded activity in different locations and layers of primary auditory cortex (A1). Our findings reveal a neural mechanism that integrates activity only from neurons located within the same ICC lamina for short spiking intervals (<6 ms). This mechanism leads to enhanced activity into layers III-V of A1 that is further magnified in supragranular layers. This integration mechanism may contribute to perceptual coding of different sound features that are relevant for improving AMI performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1020
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 8 2013


  • Auditory cortex
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Enhancement
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Temporal integration


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