Organization and development of the brain stem auditory nuclei of the chicken: primary afferent projections

J Comp Neurol. 1978 Aug 1;180(3):439-48. doi: 10.1002/cne.901800303.


The pattern of primary auditory projections to the brain stem of young chickens was investigated using terminal degeneration methods and orthograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) or tritiated amino acid. Of particular interest was the question of whether nucleus laminaris (NL) receives primary afferents. A study of silver-stained degeneration pattersn in nucleus magnocellularis (NM) and NL at three intervals following unilateral interruption of the cochlear nerve revealed that by 48 hours after the lesion, degenerating terminals were found only in the ipsilateral nucleus angularis (NA), NM and lagenar projection areas but not in NL. Five- and eight-day survival times, however, also revealed degeneration bilaterally in NL. The appearance of terminal degeneration in NL at the longer survival times is attributed to the previously-reported severe and rapid transneuronal degeneration of neurons in NM following deafferentation and not to the presence of cochlear nerve terminals in NL. Injection of HRP or tritiated proline into the basilar papilla produced patterns of labeling similar to that seen in the 2-day degeneration material; HRP reaction product or autoradiographic label were seen only in the ipsilateral NA and NM and in the ipsilateral projection areas of the macula lagena but not in either NL. The patterns of primary auditory projections revealed by the three methods were quite similar to each other and to that previously reported for the pigeon and confirm the conslucion that the laminar nucleus of chickens does not receive primary afferents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Pathways / growth & development
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Stem / growth & development
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Cochlear Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Cochlear Nerve / growth & development
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Vestibular Nuclei / anatomy & histology


  • Horseradish Peroxidase