Single-unit recording in the ventral cochlear nucleus of behaving cats

Bradford J. May, Cynthia M. Aleszczyk, Murray B. Sachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A method is described for single-unit recording in the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) of behaving cats. Five cats were implanted with titanium head-restraint devices and acetal plastic recording chambers. The recording chamber directed microelectrodes through the cerebellum and into the VCN. Electrophysiological recordings were obtained from isolated VCN units while the cats engaged in an auditory discrimination task. The task required the cats to discriminate changes in the temporal pattern of a series of tone or noise bursts. Cats initiated the testing sequence by depressing a lever, and obtained food by releasing the lever when the pattern of stimuli changed from one 200-ms burst/s to four 50-ms bursts/s. Stimulus features (i.e., frequency, level, duration) were manipulated to characterize the physiological responses of VCN units. Preliminary data suggest that peri-stimulus time histograms (PSTHs) and rate-level functions (RALVs) obtained from behaving cats are similar to those previously described in anesthetized and decerebrate cats when units are tested with tones in quiet backgrounds. However, in comparison to anesthetized and decerebrate cats, units obtained in behaving cats demonstrate a more sensitive rate representation of stimulus level when tested in continuous background noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1991


  • Behaving cats
  • Cochlear nucleus
  • Dynamic range
  • Olivocochlear efferents
  • Single-unit recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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