Roles of voltage-gated ion channels in regulating the responses of principal neurons of the medial superior olive
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The principal neurons of the medial superior olive (MSO) are considered to be responsible for transforming the temporal information present in the binaural acoustic stimulus into an output encoding sound location along the horizontal axis. Spatial resolution of sound localization depends critically on the time resolution with which MSO neurons can detect microsecond differences in the timing of inputs from the two ears. This fast temporal processing is contingent on voltage gated ion channels. The work presented in this thesis demonstrates that two currents, namely a hyperpolarization activated cationic current and low voltage activated potassium current dynamically interact to regulate the intrinsic time resolution of MSO neurons. We observe that the ability of MSO neurons to perform sub-millisecond temporal processing matures after birth, especially around the time of the clearing of the auditory canal. Hyperpolarization activated cationic current was found to be one of the underlying mechanisms transforming slow immature MSO neurons into temporally precise adult MSO neurons.