Spiral ganglion cell site of excitation I: Comparison of scala tympani and intrameatal electrode responses

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To determine the site of excitation on the spiral ganglion cell in response to electrical stimulation similar to that from a cochlear implant, single-fiber responses to electrical stimuli delivered by an electrode positioned in the scala tympani were compared to responses from stimuli delivered by an electrode placed in the internal auditory meatus. The response to intrameatal stimulation provided a control set of data with a known excitation site, the central axon of the spiral ganglion cell. For both intrameatal and scala tympani stimuli, the responses to single-pulse, summation, and refractory stimulus protocols were recorded. The data demonstrated that summation pulses, as opposed to single pulses, are likely to give the most insightful measures for determination of the site of excitation. Single-fiber summation data for both scala tympani and intrameatally stimulated fibers were analyzed with a clustering algorithm. Combining cluster analysis and additional numerical modeling data, it was hypothesized that the scala tympani responses corresponded to central excitation, peripheral excitation adjacent to the cell body, and peripheral excitation at a site distant from the cell body. Fibers stimulated by an intrameatal electrode demonstrated the greatest range of jitter measurements indicating that greater fiber independence may be achieved with intrameatal stimulation.

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