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Am J Anat. 1983 Oct;168(2):157-66.

Is there a medial nucleus of the trapezoid body in humans?


The medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) appears to be a prominent auditory structure in many mammals. However, the presence of an MNTB in the human brain has not been clearly established. One of the most characteristic features of the cat MNTB is the presence of large somatic endings with multiple synaptic sites, the calyces of Held. We examined adult human brains at both light and electron microscopic levels and found neurons with unusually large endings in a location that is similar to that for the MNTB in other animals. Moreover, the sizes and shapes of some cells in this area are similar to the principal cells of the cat MNTB. These observations support the idea that humans have cells that resemble MNTB neurons in other species. It has been suggested that the cat MNTB may be involved in the generation of wave 3 of its brainstem auditory evoked potentials, so the presence of an MNTB in the human brain may have implications in interpreting brainstem potentials in man.

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