The ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus of the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): organization of connections with the cochlear nucleus and the inferior colliculus.
The spatial organization of projections from the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) to the ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus (VNLL) and from the VNLL to the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CNIC) was investigated by using neuroanatomical tracing methods in the gerbil. In order to label cells in the VNLL that project to the CNIC, focal injections of biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) were made into different CNIC regions. Retrogradely labeled cells were distributed throughout the dorsal-to-ventral axis of the VNLL in all cases. In contrast, the distribution of labeled cells across the lateral-to-medial dimension of the VNLL was related to the location of the injection site along the dorsolateral to ventromedial (frequency) axis of the CNIC. Cells projecting to dorsolateral (low-frequency) regions of the CNIC were located peripherally in the VNLL, mainly laterally and caudally, whereas those projecting to ventromedial (high-frequency) regions of the CNIC tended to be clustered centrally. Projections to the VNLL were labeled anterogradely following injections of BDA in the VCN. The distribution of terminal fields in the VNLL closely paralleled the topographic arrangement of cells projecting to the CNIC; projections from ventrolateral (low-frequency) areas of the VCN terminated mainly along the lateral and caudal borders of the VNLL, whereas projections from dorsomedial (high-frequency) areas terminated in more central regions. The results demonstrate a topographic organization of the major afferent and efferent connections of the gerbil VNLL.
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