Afferent influences on brainstem auditory nuclei of the chicken: n. laminaris dendritic length following monaural conductive hearing loss

J Comp Neurol. 1983 Oct 20;220(2):199-205. doi: 10.1002/cne.902200207.


The influence of monaural acoustic deprivation on the size of dendrites in n. laminaris in the chick was examined. Chicks were raised in a controlled acoustic environment with one ear occluded from 2 days prior to hatching until 25 days after hatching by an earplug which provided a conductive hearing loss of approximately 40 dB across the audible frequency range. Each n. laminaris cell receives spatially segregated binaural excitatory innervation; one dendritic field received input from the plugged ear while the other received input from the normal ear. This arrangement allowed comparison of the size (length) of the "deprived" dendrites and the "nondeprived" dendrites for each cell. The tonotopic organization of n. laminaris allowed these comparisons to be made as a function of the frequency organization of the nucleus. We observed systematic changes in dendritic size which differed as a function of the tonotopic position of the neurons. In high-frequency regions the dendrites receiving information from the deprived ear were shorter than those receiving input from the normal ear. Unexpectedly, cells responsive to low frequencies showed the opposite result; the dendrites innervated from the deprived ear were longer than those responsive to the nondeprived ear. These results suggests that a relatively flat conductive hearing loss may cause nonuniform changes in activity impinging on high- and low-frequency areas of the auditory system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Chickens
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / anatomy & histology