The dual origins of the olivocochlear bundle in the albino rat

Authors

  • James S. White,

    1. Human Communication Laboratories, Boys Town Institute for Communication Disorders in Children, Omaha, Nebraska 68131
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Anatomy, Creighton University School of Medicine, California at 24th Street, Omaha, NE 68178
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  • Bruce W. Warr

    1. Human Communication Laboratories, Boys Town Institute for Communication Disorders in Children, Omaha, Nebraska 68131
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Abstract

Recent studies of the origins and terminations of the olivocochlear bundle (OCB) in the cat provide evidence that separate efferent systems differentially innervate the two types of hair cells in the organ of Corti. To begin to test the generality of these separate olivocochlear systems, the cells of origin of the OCB were determined in the albino rat by using axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase. Our findings are that, as in the cat, two classes of olivocochlear (OC) neurons project to the cochlea. These neurons could be dichotomized according to their location in the superior olivary complex (lateral or medial), their size (small or large), and their preferred side of projection (ipsilateral or contralateral). All labeled OC neurons also exhibited a positive reaction for acetylcholinesterase. In the rat, however, lateral and medial OC neurons are each restricted to a single nucleus, and, furthermore, the lateral OC neurons project only ipsilaterally. The rat also has significantly fewer mean totals of both lateral (240vs. 710)and medial (240 vs. 520) OC neurons than the cat. The present methods also demonstrated the course of axons of the OCB and axon collaterals entering the cochlear nuclear complex. Vestibular efferent neurons were also labeled bilaterally medial and lateral to the facial genu. Our results suggest that the general organizational plan of OC neurons in the rat may offer advantages over the situation in the cat for studies of connectional neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and behavioral functions of the two olivocochlear systems.

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