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Previous studies performed in anesthetized animals have shown differences between the acoustic responses of neurons recorded from the different divisions of the medial geniculate body (MGB). This study aimed at determining whether or not such differences are also expressed when neurons are recorded from awake animals. The auditory responses of 130 neurons of the auditory thalamus were determined in awake, restrained guinea pigs while the state of vigilance of the animals was continuously monitored. There were significantly more 'on' phasic evoked responses and significantly fewer 'non-responsive' or 'labile' cells in the ventral division of the MGB (MGv) than in the other divisions. The response latencies and the variability of the latencies were smaller in the MGv than in the other divisions. The tuning of the neurons obtained from MGv and from the lateral part of the posterior complex were significantly sharper than those coming from the dorsal division of the MGB and the medial division. The mean threshold and the percentage of monotonic vs. non-monotonic intensity functions were not different in the subdivisions of the auditory thalamus. When compared with previous studies, the quantifications of the acoustic responses obtained in the present study gave values that differed from those reported under deep anesthesia, but were close to those reported under light anesthesia. Lastly, even if none of the physiological characteristic makes it possible, by itself, to determine the locus of recordings in the auditory thalamus, we conclude that the physiological characteristics of the evoked responses obtained in MGv differ from those of other divisions.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Hear Res

Publication Date

05/1999

Volume

131

Pages

135 - 152

Keywords

Acoustic Stimulation, Animals, Auditory Pathways, Auditory Threshold, Consciousness, Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Geniculate Bodies, Guinea Pigs, Male, Neurons, Afferent, Pitch Perception, Reaction Time, Thalamus