GABA-mediated echo duration selectivity of inferior collicular neurons of Eptesicus fuscus, determined with single pulses and pulse-echo pairs

Chung Hsin Wu, Philip H.S. Jen

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25 Citations (Scopus)


When insectivorous bats such as Eptesicus fuscus emit ultrasonic signals and analyze the returning echoes to hunt insects, duration selectivity of auditory neurons plays an important role in echo recognition. The success of prey capture indicates that they can effectively encode progressively shortened echo duration throughout the hunting process. The present study examines the echo duration selectivity of neurons in the central nucleus of the bat inferior colliculus (IC) under stimulation conditions of single pulses and pulse-echo (P-E) pairs. This study also examines the role of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic inhibition in shaping echo duration selectivity of IC neurons. The data obtained show that the echo duration selectivity of IC neurons is sharper when determined with P-E pairs than with single pulses. Echo duration selectivity also sharpens with shortening of pulse duration and P-E gap. Bicuculline application decreases and GABA application increases echo duration selectivity of IC neurons. The degree of change in echo duration selectivity progressively increases with shortening of pulse duration and P-E gap during bicuculline application while the opposite is observed during the GABA application. These data indicate that the GABAergic inhibition contributes to sharpening of echo duration selectivity of IC neurons and facilitates echo recognition by bats throughout different phases of hunting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-1002
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 1



  • Bat
  • Bicuculline
  • Duration selectivity
  • Echolocation
  • GABA
  • Inferior colliculus
  • Pulse-echo gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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