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Neuroscience. 2005;136(3):883-94.

Laminar inputs from dorsal cochlear nucleus and ventral cochlear nucleus to the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus: two patterns of convergence.

Author information

1
Laboratory for the Neurobiology of Hearing, Institute of Neuroscience of Castilla y Leon, University of Salamanca, Faculty of Medicine, Salamanca, Spain. msm@usal.es

Abstract

The central nucleus of the inferior colliculus is a laminated structure composed of oriented dendrites and similarly oriented afferent fibers that provide a substrate for tonotopic organization. Although inputs from many sources converge in the inferior colliculus, how axons from these sources contribute to the laminar pattern has remained unclear. Here, we investigated the axons from the cochlear nuclei that terminate in the central nucleus of the cat and rat. After characterization of the best frequency of the neurons at the injection sites in the cochlear nucleus, the neurons were labeled with dextran in order to visualize their axons and synaptic boutons in the central nucleus. Quantitative methods were used to determine the size and distribution of the boutons within the laminar organization. Two components in the laminae were identified: (1) a narrow axonal lamina that included the largest fibers and largest boutons; (2) a wide axonal lamina, surrounding the narrow lamina, composed of thin fibers and only small boutons. The wide lamina was approximately 30-40% wider than the narrow lamina, and it often extended more than 100 microm beyond the larger boutons on each side. The presence of both thick and thin fibers within the acoustic striae following these injections suggests that large and small fibers/boutons within these bands may originate from different neuronal types in the dorsal and ventral cochlear nucleus. We conclude that the narrow laminae that contain large fibers and boutons originate from larger cell types in the cochlear nucleus. In contrast, the wide lamina composed exclusively of small boutons may represent an input from other, perhaps smaller neurons in the cochlear nucleus. Thus, two types of inferior colliculus laminar structures may originate from the cochlear nucleus, and the small boutons in the wide laminae may contribute a functionally distinct input to the neurons of the inferior colliculus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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