• brainstem;
  • rodent;
  • tonotopic organization


By means of the Golgi–Cox and Nissl methods we investigated the cyto- and fiberarchitecture as well as the morphology of neurons in the subcortical auditory structures of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus), a frequently used animal model in auditory neuroscience. We describe the divisions and subdivisions of the auditory thalamus including the medial geniculate body, suprageniculate nucleus, and reticular thalamic nucleus, as well as of the inferior colliculi, nuclei of the lateral lemniscus, superior olivary complex, and cochlear nuclear complex. In this study, we 1) confirm previous results about the organization of the gerbil's subcortical auditory pathway using other anatomical staining methods (e.g., Budinger et al. [2000] Eur J Neurosci 12:2452–2474); 2) add substantially to the knowledge about the laminar and cellular organization of the gerbil's subcortical auditory structures, in particular about the orientation of their fibrodendritic laminae and about the morphology of their most distinctive neuron types; and 3) demonstrate that the cellular organization of these structures, as seen by the Golgi technique, corresponds generally to that of other mammalian species, in particular to that of rodents. J. Comp. Neurol., 521:1289–1321, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.