The goldfish posterior lateral line nerve consists of a dorsal and a ventral branch, each of which is associated with a ramus of the sensory branch of the VII th nerve (ramus recurrens facialis). The afferent and efferent pathways of these nerves within the central nervous system were studied by using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) histochemistry.
The afferent fibers of the ramus recurrens facialis travel in the ventral portion of the VIIth nerve as it enters the brain and project predominantly to the ipsilateral half of the facial lobe.
The afferent fibers of either the dorsal or ventral branch of the posterior lateral line nerve split into two bundles as they enter the brain. The caudally projectingfascicle terminates predominantly in thenucleusmedialis. The fibers of the rostrally projecting bundle terminate predominantly in nucleus medialis and nucleus magnocellularis and in the eminentia granularis.
The posterior lateral line efferent somata were located in the diencephalon as well as in the medulla oblongata. The medullary efferent neurons formed two distinct groups, a rostral and a caudal nucleus. The cell bodies of the latter were more numerous and larger than those of the former. The axons of the efferent neurons exit from the brain by one of two routes. The first is at the level of the rostral efferent nucleus and the second at the level of the Mauthner cell.
Previous reports have described input of posterior lateral line afferent fibers to the Mauthner cell soma and proximal lateral dendrite of the goldfish. This electrophysiological input was bilateral and was interpreted as monosynaptic. The afferent input described in this study was ipsilateral and ended in the vicinity of the distal lateral dendrite. These differences are discussed in the context of the neuronal circuitry that may be present.