Effect of interphase gap and pulse duration on electrically evoked potentials is correlated with auditory nerve survival

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Abstract

We investigated the effect of pulse duration (PD) and interphase-gap (IPG) on the electrically-evoked auditory brain stem response (EABR) and viiith nerve compound action potential (ECAP) of deafened guinea pigs in order to test the hypothesis that the extent of change in these neural responses is affected by the histological status of the auditory nerve. Fifteen guinea pigs were deafened by co-administration of kanamycin and furosemide. Animals were acutely implanted with an 8-band electrode array at 1, 4 or 12 weeks following deafening. EABR and ECAP input/output functions were recorded in response to charge balanced biphasic current pulses. We determined the change in current required to equalize; (i) the EABR amplitude when the duration of the current pulse was doubled (104–208 μs/phase); and (ii) the EABR and ECAP amplitudes when the IPG was increased from 8 to 58 μs using a 104 μs/phase current pulse. Following the completion of each experiment the cochleae were examined quantitatively for spiral ganglion neuron survival. As expected, the current level required to evoke an EABR with equal amplitude was lower when the animal was stimulated with current pulses of 208 compared with 104 μs/phase. Moreover, the current level required to evoke EABR/ECAPs with equal amplitude was lower when current pulses had an IPG of 58 versus 8 μs. Importantly, there was a reduction in the magnitude of this effect with greater neural loss; the reduced efficacy of changing both PD and IPG on these electrically-evoked potentials was statistically correlated with neural survival. These results may provide a tool for investigating the contribution of auditory nerve survival to clinical performance among cochlear implant subjects.

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