Acoustic chiasm V: inhibition and excitation in the ipsilateral and contralateral projections of LSO

J Comp Neurol. 1992 May 1;319(1):100-22. doi: 10.1002/cne.903190110.


When this series of experiments was begun in 1984, the activity of each lateral superior olive (LSO) in the mammalian hindbrain was known to encode the hemifield of acoustic space containing a sound source. However, the almost random bilaterality of its ascending projections seemed to jumble that identification before reaching the midbrain. At the same time, electrophysiological studies of LSO and its efferent target in the inferior colliculus, along with the strictly contralateral deficits in sound localization resulting from unilateral lesions above the level of the superior olives, indicated that hemifield allegiance was largely maintained (though reversed) at the midbrain. Here we present seven lines of biochemical evidence, some combined with prior ablations, supporting the notion that the anatomical segregation of the ipsilateral and contralateral fibers ascending from the LSO is accompanied by a corresponding segregation of their neurotransmitters: most of the ascending ipsilateral projection is probably glycinergic and, hence, inhibitory in effect, while most of the contralateral projection is probably glutamatergic/aspartergic and, hence, excitatory in effect. Taken together, the inhibitory ipsilateral projections and the excitatory contralateral projections serve to amplify functional contralaterality at the higher levels of the auditory system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Brain Stem / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Inferior Colliculi / anatomy & histology
  • Inferior Colliculi / cytology
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Mammals
  • Models, Neurological
  • Olivary Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology*
  • Quisqualic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, GABA-A / analysis
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / analysis
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Glutamates
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, Glycine
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Quisqualic Acid
  • Kainic Acid
  • Glycine