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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rate-versus-intensity functions and related AP responses in normal and pathological guinea pig and human cochleas.

Cochlear fiber discharge rate-versus-intensity functions, across frequency, have been measured in pathological guinea pig cochleas (ototoxic antibiotic poisoning) and compared with the normal animal. The frequency dependence of the slopes of these functions is reduced in cochlear pathology which results in minimum threshold elevations of more than 50 dB, i.e., there is a reduction in this frequency dependent nonlinearity. The rate functions at characteristic frequency (CF) become abnormally steep (e.g., 4--5 spikes/s/dB compared with a normal 1--2 spikes/s/dB), and comparable to those of the low-frequency tail region of normal cochlear fibers. The CF dynamic range is reduced from 30--40 to 10--15 dB in cochlear pathology. The fiber study has been confirmed by (and has confirmed) a method of indirect measurement of rate functions from AP suppression-versus-intensity functions using a pure-tone forward masking paradigm [Abbas and Gorga, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 69, 492--499 (1981)]. This method has been used in normal and pathological guinea pigs, and the results parallel the single fiber study. In addition, AP suppression functions, across frequency, have been obtained in human subjects with (near) normal hearing thresholds, and in patients with sensorineural hearing loss of cochlear origin, during transtympanic electrocochleography. The AP suppression curves in pathology indicate, as for the animal studies, a loss of the frequency dependency of the rate function slopes, and predict steep rate functions at CF (and thus reduced dynamic range) in cochlear deafness. The findings are related to loudness recruitment.[1]


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