Electron microscopic features of physiologically characterized, HRP-labeled fusiform cells in the cat dorsal cochlear nucleus

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Jul 1;237(1):127-43. doi: 10.1002/cne.902370110.


We report on the anatomy and physiology of three fusiform cells in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) of the cat. The extra- and intracellular responses of these cells to pure tones showed features typical of the cell type. Peristimulus time histograms (PSTHs) were usually of the pauser or buildup configuration with chopping behavior noted in certain instances. Intracellular records during stimulus presentations revealed sustained depolarizations for the duration of the tone followed by a prolonged after-hyperpolarization (AHP). On rare occasions, a hyperpolarization corresponding to the pause region of the PSTH was noted. Occasionally, a stimulus-induced depolarization would be maintained after stimulus offset. Rebound excitation was also observed after the AHP. Morphologically, all three cells showed the standard fusiform cell features at the light microscopic level. The cell body gave rise to apical and basal dendritic trees. The apical tree branched frequently and displayed numerous spines distally. The basal tree had fewer branches and fewer, more irregular appendages. The axon originated from the cell body and gave rise to one or more collaterals before leaving the nucleus via the dorsal acoustic stria (DAS). At the electron microscopic (EM) level, the axon collaterals may terminate on a variety of cell types in the DCN, including fusiform cells. Their vesicles are round and the terminals closely resemble many unlabeled terminals seen on the cell body and apical and basal dendrites of our labeled fusiform cells. Terminals containing round vesicles, believed to be eighth nerve terminals, were found, with one exception, only on the basal dendrites. The spine-laden, distal apical dendrites received primarily terminals containing round vesicles, presumed to originate from the unmyelinated axons of granule cells. The cell body and unmyelinated initial segment received mostly terminals containing pleomorphic and flat vesicles, which also made up a large percentage of the dendritic input. Some relevant correlations, between the distribution of synaptic terminals and the observed physiology, may be possible.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cats / anatomy & histology*
  • Cochlear Nerve / cytology
  • Cochlear Nerve / physiology
  • Cochlear Nerve / ultrastructure*
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Synapses / ultrastructure


  • Horseradish Peroxidase