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J Comp Neurol. 1975 Dec 15;164(4):411-33.

Organization and development of brain stem auditory nuclei of the chicken: tonotopic organization of n. magnocellularis and n. laminaris.


Extracellular recordings of responses to tone-burst stimulation were used to determine the tonotopic organization of n. magnocellularis (NM) and n. laminaris (NL) in hatching chickens. NM cells show "primary-like" response patterns to ipsilateral stimulation, and are arranged in dorso-ventral isofrequency columns. Units responding to the highest frequency tones (about 4,100 Hz) are situated at the rostromedial pole of the medial division. Units with lower characteristic frequencies (CF's) are found at successively caudal and lateral sites, until extremely low CF's ( less than 500 Hz) are represented dorsoventrally in the daudolateral tail of the lateral division. No evidence was found of auditory input to the region which receives projections from the macula lagena. NL receives polarized, binaural, excitatory input. Units have similar CF's and thresholds to tones presented to either ear. The tonotopic organization in NL matches that found in NM--high CF's rostromedially and low CF's caudal and lateral. Quantitative procedures were developed for relating CF to the position of a unit within either nucleus. These analyses account for 79% and 89% of the frequency variance found within NM and NL, respectively, and predict the CF of a neuron by its position within each nucleus.

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