Simultaneous anterograde labeling of axonal layers from lateral superior olive and dorsal cochlear nucleus in the inferior colliculus of cat

J Comp Neurol. 1997 Jun 2;382(2):215-29. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19970602)382:2<215::aid-cne6>3.0.co;2-6.

Abstract

The laminar organization of the central nucleus of inferior colliculus includes layers of axons that may be important in shaping the responses of neurons. Depending on their source, some layered axons are afferents that are superimposed and terminate on the same postsynaptic neurons, while other layered afferents, such as those from the ipsilateral and contralateral lateral superior olive, terminate side-by-side. The specific pattern of convergence may dictate which populations of axons are presynaptic to layered disc-shaped neurons in the central nucleus. We compared the distribution of afferent axons from the dorsal cochlear nucleus and the lateral superior olive to the contralateral inferior colliculus in the cat. Injection sites in cochlear nucleus and superior olive were physiologically characterized by extracellular recordings of single and multiple units in response to monaural and binaural acoustic stimulation. Two separate injections were made in each case, and both injection sites contained units with overlapping best frequencies. Biotinylated dextran, fluorescent dextran, 3H-leucine, and wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase were used as anterograde tracers. The present results show that layered axons from the dorsal cochlear nucleus and lateral superior olive are superimposed in part of the contralateral central nucleus. Both projections were arranged in rostro-caudally oriented axonal layers that converged in the ventral part of the central nucleus. However, in the dorsal part of the central nucleus, the same layer of axons from the dorsal cochlear nucleus did not terminate with afferents from the lateral superior olive. Within the overlapping layers in the ventral central nucleus, the overlap of axons from the dorsal cochlear nucleus and the lateral superior olive was uniform except for small patches that were usually smaller than the dendritic fields of disc-shaped neurons. These data suggest that the layers may create specific functional zones in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus. One zone may contain neurons with binaural responses that combine the properties of the inputs from the contralateral lateral superior olive and the dorsal cochlear nucleus. A second zone may contain inputs from the cochlear nucleus but lack those of the lateral superior olive.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Biotin
  • Cats / anatomy & histology*
  • Cochlear Nucleus / anatomy & histology*
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology
  • Fluorescein
  • Fluoresceins
  • Functional Laterality
  • Inferior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Inferior Colliculi / physiology
  • Leucine
  • Models, Neurological
  • Olivary Nucleus / anatomy & histology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology
  • Rhodamines
  • Tritium
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate

Substances

  • Fluoresceins
  • Rhodamines
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate
  • Tritium
  • tetramethylrhodamine
  • Biotin
  • Leucine
  • Fluorescein