Two-Tone Rate Suppression in Auditory Nerve Fibres: Time Course of Suppression and Excitation in Peristimulus Time Histograms

  • K. G. Hill
  • A. R. Palmer
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Biomathematics book series (LNBM, volume 87)


An explanation for two tone rate suppression of responses in cochlear nerve fibres is central to understanding the cochlear mechanisms that determine sensory coding in the ear. Recently, it has been proposed that the origin of the suppression lies in the fundamental concept of cochlear gain, i.e. active electro-mechanical feedback to the displacement response of the basilar membrane (BM), which determines the level of synaptic drive from inner hair cells (IRCs) to afferent nerve fibres (Geisler et al., 1990). In this “saturation feedback model”, the amplitude of the electrical response of outer hair cells (OHCs) determines the amount of high gain feedback, which is applied to a restricted longitudinal extent of the BM. This conception conforms with a saturating nonlinearity (receptor current of ORCs) and narrow band pass- filtered feedback. In response to appropriate stimuli, the saturating non-linearity provides suppression of individual frequency components (interference - Engebretson and Eldridge, 1968) and a relative attenuation of the displacement response at that BM location, specific to the attenuated frequency component. In this paper, we consider the time course of suppression and excitation of neural rate driven by characteristic frequency (CF), that results from the superposition of a test tone (suppressor) on a continuous probe tone at CF. The data suggest that factors other than suppressive effects at the IHC are involved in rate suppression.


Hair Cell Outer Hair Cell Basilar Membrane Tone Suppression Auditory Nerve Fibre 
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  1. Engebretson, A.M. and Eldredge, D.H. (1968) Model for the nonlinear characteristics of cochlear potentials. J.A.S.A. 434(2), 548– 554.Google Scholar
  2. Geisler, C.D., Yates, G.K., Patuzzi, R.B. and Johnstone, R.M. (1990) Saturation of outer hair cell receptor currents causes two tone suppression. Hearing Research 44, 241–256.Google Scholar
  3. Hill, K.G., Stange, G., Gummer, A.W. and Mo, J. (1989) A model proposing synaptic and extrasynaptic influences on the responses of cochlear nerve fibres. Hearing Research 39, 75–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. G. Hill
    • 1
  • A. R. Palmer
    • 2
  1. 1.Research School of Biological SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.MRC Institute of Hearing ResearchUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamEngland

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