The activity elicited by electrical stimulation of the cochlea in the auditory pathway was assessed in an animal model of cochlear implants on the basis of the induction of the immediate early gene c-fos and single neuron recordings. Electrical stimulation of the cochlea induced Fos-like immunoreactivity in the cochlear nucleus, mainly in its dorsal nucleus, in the superior olivary complex, in the lateral lemniscus, but not in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus, the main relay nucleus in the auditory midbrain. However, single unit recordings from the inferior colliculus, ipsilateral and contralateral to the electrically stimulated cochlea, showed clear responses of single neurons, reminiscent of those elicited by acoustic stimulation. These findings provide immunocytochemical and electrophysiological evidence that the various nuclei of the auditory pathway are activated by electrical stimulation of the cochlea.

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