Organization of the inferior colliculus of the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): differences in distribution of projections from the cochlear nuclei and the superior olivary complex.
The inferior colliculus (IC) receives its major ascending input from the cochlear nuclei, the superior olivary complex, and the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus. To understand better the terminal distribution of the inputs from these sources relative to one another, we made focal injections of a retrograde tracer, biotinylated dextran amine, in different parts of the IC in 74 gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). The cases could be divided into three groups based on counts of labeled cells in brainstem auditory nuclei. Group 1 cases had labeled cells in both the cochlear nuclei and the lateral and medial superior olivary nuclei. Group 2 cases had labeled cells in the cochlear nuclei but few or none in the lateral and medial superior olivary nuclei. Both groups had labeled cells in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus and the superior paraolivary nucleus. Group 3 cases had few labeled cells in any of the ascending auditory pathways. The group to which a case belonged was strongly related to the location of the injection site in the IC. The injection sites for both group 1 and group 2 were located in the central nucleus, but those for group 1 tended to be located laterally relative to those for group 2, which were located more medially and caudally. The injection sites for group 3 cases lay outside the central nucleus of the IC. The two regions of the central nucleus of the IC, distinguished on the basis of connectivity, are likely to subserve different functions.
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