Evidence for glutamatergic projections from the cochlear nucleus to the superior olive and the ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus

J Neurochem. 1995 Jan;64(1):161-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1995.64010161.x.


This study attempts to determine if projections ascending from the guinea pig cochlear nucleus (CN) could be glutamatergic and/or aspartatergic. Multiple radio frequency lesions were made to ablate the right CN. The ablation was verified histologically. To identify the principal targets of CN efferents, silver impregnation methods were used to localize the preterminal degeneration of fibers in transverse sections of the brainstem 5 and 7 days after CN ablation. CN efferents projected heavily to the lateral superior olive (LSO) ipsilaterally, the medial superior olive (MSO) bilaterally, and contralaterally to the medial (MNTB) and ventral (VNTB) nuclei of the trapezoid body, the ventral (VNLL) and intermediate nuclei of the lateral lemniscus and the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICc). There were smaller projections to the lateral nucleus of the trapezoid body ipsilaterally, the dorsal and dorsomedial periolivary nuclei bilaterally, and the dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus contralaterally. There were sparse projections to the VNLL and ICc ipsilaterally and the CN contralaterally, and a very sparse projection to the contralateral LSO. To determine if CN efferents were glutamatergic and/or aspartatergic, the fresh brainstem was sectioned transversely and samples of the LSO, MSO, MNTB, VNLL, and ICc were taken to measure the electrically evoked release and the uptake of D-[3H]Asp and [14C]Gly or [14C]GABA 3-5 days after the CN ablation. The release studies suggest that only certain of the histologically identified projections ascending from the CN may be glutamatergic and/or aspartatergic. CN ablation depressed D-[3H]Asp release in the MSO bilaterally and in the contralateral MNTB and VNLL, suggesting that the CN efferents to these nuclei may use glutamate or aspartate as a transmitter. It was unclear whether a marginal depression of D-[3H]Asp release in the ipsilateral LSO reflected the presence of glutamatergic CN projections to this nucleus. D-[3H]Asp release in the ICc was unaffected, suggesting that CN efferents to this nucleus may not be glutamatergic. There were no deficits in D-[3H]Asp uptake. [14C]Gly release from the LSO and MSO was unchanged. [14C]Gly uptake was unchanged in the MSO and depressed only in the contralateral LSO, possibly reflecting subnormal uptake activity in endings contributed by contralateral MNTB cells that had lost their CN efferents.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Auditory Pathways / chemistry
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Cochlear Nucleus / chemistry*
  • Efferent Pathways / chemistry
  • Female
  • Glutamates / analysis*
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Inferior Colliculi / chemistry
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / chemistry*
  • Pons / chemistry*
  • Tritium
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Glutamates
  • Tritium
  • Aspartic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glycine