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Hear Res. 1998 Aug;122(1-2):1-17.

Morphology and axonal projection patterns of auditory neurons in the midbrain of the painted frog, Discoglossus pictus.

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Zoologisches Institut der Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany.


Acoustic signals are extensively used for guiding various behaviors in frogs such as vocalization and phonotaxis. While numerous studies have investigated the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, our knowledge of intrinsic properties and connectivity of individual auditory neurons remains poor. Moreover, the neural basis of audiomotor integration still has to be elucidated. We determined basic response patterns, dendritic arborization and axonal projection patterns of auditory midbrain units with intracellular recording and staining techniques in an isolated brain preparation. The subnuclei of the torus semicircularis subserve different tasks. The principal nucleus, the main target of the ascending auditory input, has mostly intrinsic neurons, i.e., their dendrites and axons are restricted to the torus itself. In contrast, neurons of the magnocellular and the laminar nucleus project to various auditory and non-auditory processing centers. The projection targets include thalamus, tegmentum, periaqueductal gray, medulla oblongata, and in the case of laminar neurons--the spinal cord. Additionally, tegmental cells receive direct auditory input and project to various targets, including the spinal cord. Our data imply that both auditory and premotor functions are implemented in individual toral and tegmental neurons. Their axons constitute parallel descending pathways to several effector systems and might be part of the neural substrate for differential audiomotor integration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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