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Abstract

The first-order connections of the anterior and posterior lateral line nerves and of the eighth nerve were determined in the bowfin, Amia calva, using experimental degeneration and anterograde HRP transport techniques. The termination sites of these nerves define a dorsal lateralis cell column and a ventral octavus cell column.

The anterior and posterior lateralis nerves distribute ipsilaterally to two medullary nuclei—nucleus medialis and nucleus caudalis. Nucleus medialis comprises the rostral two-thirds of the lateralis column and contains large, Purkinje-like cells dorsally and polygonal, granule, and fusiform cells ventrally. Nucleus caudalis is located posterior to nucleus medialis and consists of small, granule cells. Anterior lateralis fibers terminate ventrally to ventromedially in both nucleus medialis and nucleus caudalis. Posterior lateralis fibers terminate dorsally to dorsolaterally within these two nuclei. A sparse anterior lateralis input may also be present on the dendrites of one of the nuclei within the octavus cell column, nucleus magnocellularis. In contrast, the anterior and posterior rami of the eighth nerve each terminate within four medullary nuclei which comprise the octavus cell column: the anterior, magnocellular, descending, and posterior octavus nuclei. An eighth nerve projection to the medial reticular formation is also present.

Some fibers of the lateralis and eighth nerves terminate within the ipsilateral eminentia granularis of the cerebellum. Lateralis fibers distribute to approximately the lateral half of this structure with posterior lateral line fibers terminating laterally and anterior lateral line fibers terminating medially. Eighth nerve fibers distribute to the medial half of the eminentia granularis.