Morphology and innervation of the vestibular lagena in pigeons

Neuroscience. 2012 May 3;209:97-107. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.02.014. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


The morphological characteristics of the pigeon lagena were examined using histology, scanning electron microscopy, and biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) neural tracers. The lagena epithelium was observed to lie partially in a parasagittal plane, but was also U-shaped with orthogonal (lateral) directed tips. Hair cell planar polarities were oriented away from a central reversal line that ran nearly the length of the epithelium. Similar to the vertebrate utricle and saccule, three afferent classes were observed based upon their terminal innervation pattern, which include calyx, dimorph, and bouton fibers. Calyx and dimorph afferents innervated the striola region of the lagena, whereas bouton afferents innervated the extrastriola and a small region of the central striola known as the type II band. Calyx units had large calyceal terminal structures that innervated only type I hair cells. Dimorph afferents innervated both type I and II hair cells, with calyx and bouton terminals. Bouton afferents had the largest most complex innervation patterns and the greatest terminal areas contacting many hair cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Columbidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / innervation*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / ultrastructure*