Descending projections from the superior olivary complex to the cochlear nucleus of the cat.
Subdivisions of the cochlear nuclear complex give rise to a number of discrete projections to certain cell groups of the superior olivary complex and also received substantial descending projections from the periolivary nuclei. In the present study, we sought to determine by means of retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP), and anterograde transport of radiolabeled protein, if the periolivary nuclei give rise to discrete projections to the various subdivisions of the cochlear nuclear complex. Following medium to large injections of HRP into the cochlear nucleus, irrespective of location, labeled cells were found in all periolivary nuclei bilaterally. In every case more than 40% of the labeled cells were found in the lateral nucleus of the trapezoid body on the same side and the ventral nucleus of the trapezoid body of both sides. Other periolivary nuclei contributing more than 5% of the total number of cells in individual cases were the contralateral lateral nucleus of the trapezoid body and the ipsilateral anterolateral and dorsal periolivary nuclei. Injections of tritiated leucine into periolivary nuclei gave rise to axonal labeling to the trapezoid body and the dorsal acoustic stria, usually bilaterally, and to terminal labeling that was widely distributed within the cochlear nuclear complex. In several cases with small injections, particularly in the lateral nucleus of the trapezoid body, the projections from the periolivary nuclei to the anteroventral and dorsal cochlear nuclei connected areas described as having similar best-frequency representation. The autoradiographic data corroborated the main results from the HRP experiments and provided additional information permitting these conclusions: the projections from the periolivary nuclei to the cochlear nuclear complex are organized tonotopically, at least in part; each periolivary nucleus (and perhaps individual cells), projects widely throughout the cochlear nuclear complex; the pattern of termination of projections from different periolivary nuclei to a given region of the cochlear nuclear complex are similar, as seen in autoradiograms, and the lateral and dorsal periolivary nuclei project mainly ipsilaterally, while the medial periolivary nuclei project bilaterally with a contralateral bias. The magnitude of these projections and their widespread distribution within the cochlear nuclear complex would suggest an important role for the descending projections in the normal functioning of the cochlear nucleus.
Spangler, KM; Cant, NB; Henkel, CK; Farley, GR; Warr, WB
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