Connections of the auditory brainstem in a songbird, Taeniopygia guttata. III. Projections of the superior olive and lateral lemniscal nuclei

J Comp Neurol. 2010 Jun 1;518(11):2149-67. doi: 10.1002/cne.22325.


Sequential to companion articles that report the projections of the cochlear nucleus angularis (NA) and the third-order nucleus laminaris (NL) to the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (MLd) and to the superior olive (OS) and lateral lemniscal nuclei (LLV, LLI, and LLD) (Krützfeldt et al., J Comp Neurol, this issue), we here describe the projections of the latter group of nuclei using standard tract-tracing methods. OS projects on LLV and both have further ascending projections on LLI, LLD, and MLd. LLV also provides auditory input to the song system, via nucleus uvaeformis, and to the thalamo-telencephalic auditory system, via nucleus ovoidalis (Ov), thus bypassing MLd. The two divisions of LLD (LLDa and LLDp) project across the midline via the commissure of Probst each to innervate the homologous contralateral nucleus and MLd. Both, particularly LLDp, also project on Ov. Injections in LLD and LLV resulted in anterograde labeling of caudal nucleus basorostralis (Bas) in the frontal telencephalon, but retrograde tracing so far suggests that only LLI is a real source of this projection (Wild and Farabaugh [1996] J Comp Neurol 365:306-328). OS and LLV also have descending projections on the ipsilateral NA, NM, and NL, and LLV also projects on OS. The ascending inputs to MLd and more rostral nuclei may contribute importantly to mechanisms of auditory pattern (song) recognition. Consistent with previous studies, some of the descending projections may be inhibitory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Cochlear Nucleus / anatomy & histology*
  • Finches / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Inferior Colliculi / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Olivary Nucleus / anatomy & histology*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods