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Neuron. 1993 Aug;11(2):209-20.

Rhombomere-specific origin of the contralateral vestibulo-acoustic efferent neurons and their migration across the embryonic midline.

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Division of Anatomy and Cell Biology, United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London, England.


The bilateral efferent supply to the inner ear receptor fields is located in the hindbrain. In ovo injections of Dil into the common facial/vestibulo-acoustic nerve root at 3 days of chick development (stage 16) followed by analysis at 7 days has revealed the origin of the contralateral efferent neurons of the inner ear and their relation to the transient hindbrain rhombomeres. These neurons have a rhombomere 4-specific origin and form their commissure not by axonal outgrowth but, unusually, by transmedian cell migration into the contralateral rhombomere 4 and rhombomere 5. Neurons first project their axons from the ipsilateral basal plate through the VII/VIIIth nerve exit point and then migrate in the opposite direction, crossing the floor plate at stage 19-21. This rhombomere-specific cell behavior provides evidence at the cellular level that segmentation is intimately involved in establishing the pattern of this region of the CNS.

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