Processing of modulation frequency in the dorsal cochlear nucleus of the guinea pig: Amplitude modulated tones

Hong Bo Zhao, Zhi An Liang

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22 Scopus citations


The modulation frequency (Fm), particularly high Fm (> 200 Hz), in amplitude modulated (AM) tones can elicit the perception of the periodicity pitch (Langner, 1992). In this study, single unit responses to the Fms of the sinusoidal AM tones were investigated at 50 to 90 dB SPL. The recordings were made from the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) of neuroleptic anesthetized guinea pigs with an intact cerebellum. The DCN units show a good capability of phase-locking to Fm at 400-1200 Hz. On-S-type II and Pauser/Buildup (P/B) units have a high modulation gain (7.2-8.3 dB). P/B units can preserve the high modulation gain (5-9 dB) up to 90 dB SPL. The modulation gain exponentially increases with decreasing modulation depth (Dm) and the phase-locking is detectable even at the Dm as low as 2-5%. The 'central skipping' of the phase-locking peak has been found at deep Dms in a few cases. The synchronization is independent of the discharge rate and can remain high even when the responses to AM tones are inhibited below the spontaneous activity. Such encoding behaviors over the unit's response area show that the Fm phase-locking is strong near or at its characteristic frequency (CF). The synchronization index (SI) versus carrier frequency (Fc) curve is similar to the inverse shape of tuning curve but more narrowly tuned than the iso-intensity function of pure tones at moderate to high intensity levels. The phase-locking is related to the unit's spontaneous rate (SR). The average modulation gain of the lower SR (≤ 2 spikes/s) units is 5 dB higher than that of the higher SR (> 2 spikes/s) units (8.16 and 2.92 dB, respectively) at 70 dB SPL. These results suggest that AM information is temporally encoded over broad ranges of modulation parameters in the DCN and is conveyed by the Fc channel. Such a timing mechanism can play an important role in processing of complex sounds under normal acoustic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-256
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Amplitude modulation
  • Dorsal cochlear nucleus
  • Guinea pig
  • Modulation information
  • Temporal encoding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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