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J Comp Neurol. 1991 Dec 22;314(4):684-706.

Afferents to the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body and their collateral projections.

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Department of Zoological and Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University, Athens.


Cells and axons that supply direct afferent input to the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body are described. Afferents were intracellularly labeled in brainstem tissue slices of two rodent and two bat species. The main afferents are calyciferous axons from globular bushy cells of the ventral cochlear nucleus. Calyciferous axons were highly consistent across species, projecting directly from the cochlear nucleus, across the midline in the trapezoid body, to the contralateral medial nucleus of the trapezoid body. Within the target nucleus, a typical axon turned sharply away from horizontal to form a large ending, the calyx of Held, around the soma of a single principal cell. Three groups of calyciferous axons were classified based on the path taken from bend to calyx. In subjects younger than four weeks, single axons often formed two calyces, each on a different cell. These calyx pairs were often found on adjacent or vertically aligned cells. In older animals, calyx pairs were more closely aligned, but fewer double calyx axons were seen. A secondary focus of this study was the system of thin collateral branches that characterizes calyciferous axons in all species. The projection patterns of these collaterals suggest that calyciferous axons may provide ascending input to periolivary cell groups with descending projections. In addition to calyciferous afferents, labeled cells that provide input to the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body from adjacent periolivary cell groups are described. Also described is a type of afferent that descends from the level of the lateral lemniscus to the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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