The effects of stimulation rate on the brain-stem auditory evoked response (BAER) of developing and adult cats were investigated. Age ranged from 10-post-natal days to young adults. Clicks were presented at levels of 90 dB pSPL and 20 dB above each animal's click threshold (20 dB SL). For all animals, a conventional BAER rate series was obtained at rates of 5, 10, 30, 60, and 90 Hz. BAERs were also obtained using pseudorandom pulse sequences called maximum length sequences (MLSs). The minimum time between pulses, the minimum pulse interval (MPI), included 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 ms, which correspond to average rates of 1000, 500, 250, 125, and 83 Hz, respectively. Dependent variables included the latencies of the first four BAER peaks, labeled i through iv. MLS BAERs were indistinguishable from conventional BAERs at all ages studied. In general, for both conventional and MLS BAERs, peak latencies and the i-iv interval increased with increasing stimulus rate. Although absolute peak latencies and the i-iv interval decreased systematically with age, the relative shift in latency and i-iv interval induced by increasing stimulus rate decreased during development. The enhanced sensitivity to stimulus rate observed at younger ages was not the consequence of the threshold improvement that occurs during development since similar observations were made when stimuli were presented at a constant absolute level (90 dB pSPL) or at a constant level above threshold (20 dB SL). In addition, successive BAER peaks exhibited progressively larger latency shifts with increasing stimulus rate at all ages studied. These data suggest that higher stimulus rates produce greater neural adaptation resulting in prolonged BAER peak latencies. Furthermore, the effects of adaptation are cumulative across synapses, and the mechanisms responsible for the acquisition of adult-like adaptation properties develop during the early post-natal period in the cat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics