In profoundly deaf cats, behavioral training with intracochlear electric stimulation (ICES) can improve temporal processing in the primary auditory cortex (AI). To investigate whether similar effects are manifest in the auditory midbrain, ICES was initiated in neonatally deafened cats either during development after short durations of deafness (8 wk of age) or in adulthood after long durations of deafness (≥3.5 yr). All of these animals received behaviorally-meaningless, 'passive' ICES. Some animals also received behavioral training with ICES. Two long-deaf cats received no ICES prior to acute electrophysiological recording. After several months of passive ICES and behavioral training, animals were anesthetized, and neuronal responses to pulse trains of increasing rates were recorded in the central (ICC) and external (ICX) nuclei of the inferior colliculus. Neuronal temporal response patterns (repetition rate coding, minimum latencies, response precision) were compared with results from recordings made in the AI of the same animals (Beitel et al. 2011; Vollmer and Beitel 2011). Passive ICES in long-deaf cats remediated severely degraded temporal processing in the ICC and had no effects in the ICX. In contrast to observations in the AI, behaviorally-relevant ICES had no effects on temporal processing in the ICC or ICX, with the single exception of shorter latencies in the ICC in short-deaf cats. The results suggest that independent of deafness duration passive stimulation and behavioral training differentially transform temporal processing in auditory midbrain and cortex, and primary auditory cortex emerges as a pivotal site for behaviorally driven neuronal temporal plasticity in the deaf cat.
- cochlear implant
- temporal processing
- inferior colliculus and primary auditory cortex
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology