34,286 research outputs found

    Vocalization Influences Auditory Processing in Collicular Neurons of the CF-FM-Bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

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    1. In awake Greater Horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) the responses of 64 inferior colliculus neurons to electrically elicited vocalizations (VOC) and combinations of these with simulated echoes (AS: pure tones and AS(FM): sinusoidally frequency-modulated tones mimicking echoes from wing beating insects) were recorded. 2. The neurons responding to the species-specific echolocation sound elicited by electrical stimulation of the central grey matter had best frequencies between 76 and 86 kHz. The response patterns to the invariable echolocation sound varied from unit to unit (Fig. 1). 3. In 26 neurons the responses to vocalized echolocation sounds markedly differed from those to identical artificial ones copying the CF-portion of the vocalized sound (AS). These neurons reacted with a different response to the same pure tone whether it was presented artificially or vocalized by the bat (Fig. 2). In these neurons vocalization activities qualitatively alter the responsiveness to the stimulus parameters of the echoes. 4. A few neurons neither responded to vocalization nor to an identical pure tone but discharged when vocalization and pure tone were presented simultaneously. 5. In 2 neurons synchronized encoding of small frequency-modulations of the pure tone (mimicking an echo returning from a wing beating prey) occurred only during vocalization. Without vocalization the neurons did not respond to the identical stimulus set (Fig. 3). In these neurons vocalization activities enhanced FM-encoding capabilities otherwise not present in these neurons. 6. FM-encoding depended on the timing between vocalization and frequency-modulated signal (echo). As soon as vocalization and FM-signal no more overlapped or at least 60–80 ms after onset of vocalization synchronized firing to the FM was lost (4 neurons) (Fig. 4). 7. 4 neurons weakly responded to playbacks of the bat's own vocalization 1 ms after onset of vocalization. But when the playback frequency was shifted to higher frequencies by more than 400 Hz the neurons changed firing patterns and the latency of the first response peak (Fig. 5). These neurons sensitive to frequency shifts in the echoes returning during vocalization may be relevant to the Doppler-shift compensation mechanism in Greater Horseshoe bats

    Input-driven components of spike-frequency adaptation can be unmasked in vivo

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    Spike-frequency adaptation affects the response characteristics of many sensory neurons, and different biophysical processes contribute to this phenomenon. Many cellular mechanisms underlying adaptation are triggered by the spike output of the neuron in a feedback manner (e.g., specific potassium currents that are primarily activated by the spiking activity). In contrast, other components of adaptation may be caused by, in a feedforward way, the sensory or synaptic input, which the neuron receives. Examples include viscoelasticity of mechanoreceptors, transducer adaptation in hair cells, and short-term synaptic depression. For a functional characterization of spike-frequency adaptation, it is essential to understand the dependence of adaptation on the input and output of the neuron. Here, we demonstrate how an input-driven component of adaptation can be uncovered in vivo from recordings of spike trains in an insect auditory receptor neuron, even if the total adaptation is dominated by output-driven components. Our method is based on the identification of different inputs that yield the same output and sudden switches between these inputs. In particular, we determined for different sound frequencies those intensities that are required to yield a predefined steady-state firing rate of the neuron. We then found that switching between these sound frequencies causes transient deviations of the firing rate. These firing-rate deflections are evidence of input-driven adaptation and can be used to quantify how this adaptation component affects the neural activity. Based on previous knowledge of the processes in auditory transduction, we conclude that for the investigated auditory receptor neurons, this adaptation phenomenon is of mechanical origin

    Middle ear muscle contractions and their relation to pulse and echo evoked potentials in the bat

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    An analysis is made of pulse and echo orientation cries of the Mustache Bat. That bat's cries are characterized by a long, 60 to 30 msec, pure tone component and brief beginning and terminal FM sweeps. In addition to obvious echo overlap and middle ear muscle contractions, the following are examined: (1) characteristics of pulse- and echo-evoked potential under various conditions, (2) evidence of changes in hearing sensitivity during and after pulse emission, and (3) the role of the middle ear muscles in bringing about these changes

    Pericyte-mediated regulation of capillary diameter: a component of neurovascular coupling in health and disease

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    Because regional blood flow increases in association with the increased metabolic demand generated by localised increases in neural activity, functional imaging researchers often assume that changes in blood flow are an accurate read-out of changes in underlying neural activity. An understanding of the mechanisms that link changes in neural activity to changes in blood flow is crucial for assessing the validity of this assumption, and for understanding the processes that can go wrong during disease states such as ischaemic stroke. Many studies have investigated the mechanisms of neurovascular regulation in arterioles but other evidence suggests that blood flow regulation can also occur in capillaries, because of the presence of contractile cells, pericytes, on the capillary wall. Here we review the evidence that pericytes can modulate capillary diameter in response to neuronal activity and assess the likely importance of neurovascular regulation at the capillary level for functional imaging experiments. We also discuss evidence suggesting that pericytes are particularly sensitive to damage during pathological insults such as ischaemia, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetic retinopathy, and consider the potential impact that pericyte dysfunction might have on the development of therapeutic interventions and on the interpretation of functional imaging data in these disorders

    Benchmarking Cerebellar Control

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    Cerebellar models have long been advocated as viable models for robot dynamics control. Building on an increasing insight in and knowledge of the biological cerebellum, many models have been greatly refined, of which some computational models have emerged with useful properties with respect to robot dynamics control. Looking at the application side, however, there is a totally different picture. Not only is there not one robot on the market which uses anything remotely connected with cerebellar control, but even in research labs most testbeds for cerebellar models are restricted to toy problems. Such applications hardly ever exceed the complexity of a 2 DoF simulated robot arm; a task which is hardly representative for the field of robotics, or relates to realistic applications. In order to bring the amalgamation of the two fields forwards, we advocate the use of a set of robotics benchmarks, on which existing and new computational cerebellar models can be comparatively tested. It is clear that the traditional approach to solve robotics dynamics loses ground with the advancing complexity of robotic structures; there is a desire for adaptive methods which can compete as traditional control methods do for traditional robots. In this paper we try to lay down the successes and problems in the fields of cerebellar modelling as well as robot dynamics control. By analyzing the common ground, a set of benchmarks is suggested which may serve as typical robot applications for cerebellar models

    Pre-stimulus influences on auditory perception arising from sensory representations and decision processes

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    The qualities of perception depend not only on the sensory inputs but also on the brain state before stimulus presentation. Although the collective evidence from neuroimaging studies for a relation between prestimulus state and perception is strong, the interpretation in the context of sensory computations or decision processes has remained difficult. In the auditory system, for example, previous studies have reported a wide range of effects in terms of the perceptually relevant frequency bands and state parameters (phase/power). To dissociate influences of state on earlier sensory representations and higher-level decision processes, we collected behavioral and EEG data in human participants performing two auditory discrimination tasks relying on distinct acoustic features. Using single-trial decoding, we quantified the relation between prestimulus activity, relevant sensory evidence, and choice in different task-relevant EEG components. Within auditory networks, we found that phase had no direct influence on choice, whereas power in task-specific frequency bands affected the encoding of sensory evidence. Within later-activated frontoparietal regions, theta and alpha phase had a direct influence on choice, without involving sensory evidence. These results delineate two consistent mechanisms by which prestimulus activity shapes perception. However, the timescales of the relevant neural activity depend on the specific brain regions engaged by the respective task

    Restricting excessive cardiac action potential and QT prolongation: a vital role for IKs in human ventricular muscle

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    Background - Although pharmacological block of the slow, delayed rectifier potassium current (I-Ks) by chromanol 293B, L-735,821, or HMR-1556 produces little effect on action potential duration (APD) in isolated rabbit and dog ventricular myocytes, the effect of IKs block on normal human ventricular muscle APD is not known. Therefore, studies were conducted to elucidate the role of IKs in normal human ventricular muscle and in preparations in which both repolarization reserve was attenuated and sympathetic activation was increased by exogenous dofetilide and adrenaline. Methods and Results - Preparations were obtained from undiseased organ donors. Action potentials were measured in ventricular trabeculae and papillary muscles using conventional microelectrode techniques; membrane currents were measured in ventricular myocytes using voltage-clamp techniques. Chromanol 293B (10 mu mol/L), L-735,821 (100 nmol/L), and HMR-1556 (100 nmol/L and 1 mu mol/L) produced a < 12-ms change in APD while pacing at cycle lengths ranging from 300 to 5000 ms, whereas the I-Kr blockers sotalol and E-4031 markedly lengthened APD. In voltage-clamp experiments, L- 735,821 and chromanol 293B each blocked IKs in the presence of E-4031 to block IKr. The E-4031-sensitive current (I-Kr) at the end of a 150-ms-long test pulse to 30 mV was 32.9 +/- 6.7 pA (n = 8); the L-735,821-sensitive current (I-Ks) magnitude was 17.8 +/- 2.94 pA (n = 10). During a longer 500-ms test pulse, IKr was not substantially changed (33.6 +/- 6.1 pA; n = 8), and I-Ks was significantly increased (49.6 +/- 7.24 pA; n = 10). On application of an "action potential-like" test pulse, I-Kr increased as voltage became more negative, whereas I-Ks remained small throughout all phases of the action potential - like test pulse. In experiments in which APD was first lengthened by 50 nmol/L dofetilide and sympathetic activation was increased by 1 mu mol/L adrenaline, 1 mu mol/L HMR-1556 significantly increased APD by 14.7 +/- 3.2% (P < 0.05; n = 3). Conclusions - Pharmacological IKs block in the absence of sympathetic stimulation plays little role in increasing normal human ventricular muscle APD. However, when human ventricular muscle repolarization reserve is attenuated, IKs plays an increasingly important role in limiting action potential prolongation

    Altered Achilles Tendon Morphology in Individuals With Chronic Post-Stroke Hemiparesis: A Case Report

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    Background: Individuals post-stroke walk slowly and with more effort, which puts them at higher risks for falls. The slow walking speed results from insufficient propulsive forces generated by the paretic leg. Current rehabilitative efforts to improve walking function target increasing propulsive forces, but overlook the muscle-tendon unit. Case presentations: Two individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis are presented. In both individuals post-stroke, paretic ankle plantarflexors presented with increased muscle tone. Gait kinetics revealed asymmetric propulsive forces, specifically, insufficient propulsive forces by the paretic legs, consistent with previous literature. Sonography revealed increased thickness of paretic Achilles tendon at the calcaneal insertion, in both stroke cases, in contrast to comparable Achilles tendon thickness between limbs in the non-neurologically impaired controls. Conclusion: Tendon unit integrity should be considered in individuals post-stroke who demonstrate abnormal muscle tone and insufficient propulsion during gait
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