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Brain Res Bull. 2003 Jun 15;60(5-6):497-510.

Development of vestibular afferent projections into the hindbrain and their central targets.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178, USA.
Creighton U, Omaha, NE


In contrast to most other sensory systems, hardly anything is known about the neuroanatomical development of central projections of primary vestibular neurons and how their second order target neurons develop. Recent data suggest that afferent projections may develop not unlike other sensory systems, forming first the overall projection by molecular means followed by an as yet unspecified phase of activity mediated refinement. The latter aspect has not been tested critically and most molecules that guide the initial projection are unknown. The molecular and topological origin of the vestibular and cochlear nucleus neurons is also only partially understood. Auditory and vestibular nuclei form from several rhombomeres and a given rhombomere can contribute to two or more auditory or vestibular nuclei. Rhombomere compartments develop as functional subdivisions from a single column that extends from the hindbrain to the spinal cord. Suggestions are provided for the molecular origin of these columns but data on specific mutants testing these proposals are not yet available. Overall, the functional significance of both overlapping and segregated projections are not yet fully experimentally explored in mammals. Such lack of details of the adult organization compromises future developmental analysis.

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