Journal of Neurophysiology

GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline alters response properties of posteroventral cochlear nucleus neurons

P. S. Palombi, D. M. Caspary


1. The role of GABAergic inhibitory inputs onto posteroventral cochlear nucleus (PVCN) neurons in the anesthetized chinchilla was investigated through iontophoretic application of the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol and the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline. The majority of the neurons studied displayed phasic temporal response patterns. 2. All the neurons were sensitive to bicuculline and displayed an increase in discharge rate, which was greatest during the post-onset portion of the response. Most of the tested neurons were also sensitive to muscimol, which appeared to mimic the putative effect of endogenous GABA. 3. Bicuculline reduced the average first-spike latency and the average variability of the first-spike latency. Muscimol had the opposite effect. 4. Bicuculline did not significantly alter the threshold but rather increased discharge rate at suprathreshold intensities. 5. The width of the excitatory response area was not significantly increased by application of bicuculline. The increase in discharge rate occurred within the units' excitatory response areas. 6. The shape of the rate-intensity functions was not altered by bicuculline application. 7. We conclude that GABAergic inhibitory inputs control the post-onset discharge rate of some PVCN neurons. They may suppress tonic activity, resulting in more phasic discharge patterns.