On the Influence of Baseline Startle Reactivity on the Indexation of Prepulse Inhibition

Philipp A. Csomor*, Benjamin K. Yee, Franz X. Vollenweider, Joram Feldon, Tiana Nicolet, Boris B. Quednow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex refers to the reduction of the reflexive startle response to an intense pulse stimulus when its presentation is shortly preceded by a weak prepulse stimulus. PPI is considered as a cross-species translational model of sensorimotor gating, and deficient PPI has been reported in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders. Although a part of the literature is based on the assumption that PPI is independent of the baseline startle reaction, there is accumulating evidence (Csomor et al., 2006; Sandner & Canal, 2007; Yee, Chang, Pietropaolo, & Feldon, 2005) that argues against such an independency. The authors systematically investigated whether PPI indexed as percentage or difference score is dependent on the magnitude of baseline startle reactivity in healthy human volunteers and in C57BL/6 mice. The results revealed that both indexations of PPI were affected by the magnitude of the baseline startle. The authors highlight the pitfalls of different methods to index PPI, especially when startle reactivity differs considerably between groups under comparison, and offer practical recommendations to satisfactorily deal with such baseline differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-900
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • baseline startle
  • human
  • mice
  • prepulse inhibition
  • sensorimotor gating


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