The responses to sound of mammalian cochlear neurons exhibit many nonlinearities, some of which (such as two-tone rate suppression and intermodulation distortion) are highly frequency specific, being strongly tuned to the characteristic frequency (CF) of the neuron. With the goal of establishing the cochlear origin of these auditory-nerve nonlinearities, mechanical responses to clicks and to pairs of tones were studied in relatively healthy chinchilla cochleae at a basal site of the basilar membrane with CF of 8-10 kHz. Responses were also obtained in cochleae in which hair cell receptor potentials were reduced by systemic furosemide injection. Vibrations were recorded using either the Mössbauer technique or laser Doppler-shift velocimetry. Responses to tone pairs contained intermodulation distortion products whose magnitudes as a function of stimulus frequency and intensity were comparable to those of distortion products in cochlear afferent responses. Responses to CF tones could be selectively suppressed by tones with frequency either higher or lower than CF; in most respects, mechanical two-tone suppression resembled rate suppression in cochlear afferents. Responses to clicks displayed a CF-specific compressive nonlinearity, similar to that present in responses to single tones, which could be profoundly and selectively reduced by furosemide. The present findings firmly support the hypothesis that all CF-specific nonlinearities present in the auditory nerve originate in analogous phenomena of basilar membrane vibration. However, because of their lability, it is almost certain that the mechanical nonlinearities themselves originate in outer hair cells.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Pages (from-to)||307-314; discussion 314-315|
|Journal||Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences|
|State||Published - Jun 29 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)