Cochlear-nucleus branches of thick (medial) olivocochlear fibers in the mouse: A cochaleotopic projection

Authors

  • M. C. Brown,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology and Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02115
    2. Department of Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, Massachusetts
    • Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114
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  • S. Pierce,

    1. Department of Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, Massachusetts
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  • A. M. Berglund

    1. Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02115
    2. Department of Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Olivocochlear neurons have somata in the superior olivary complex and provide an efferent innervation to the cochlea. One subgroup of olivocochlear neurons, medial olivocochlear neurons, sends fibers to innervate the cochlear outer hair cells. En route to the cochlea, medial olivocochlear fibers give off branches to the ventral cochlear nucleus, the first auditory center of the brain. This study examines the cochlear-nucleus branches of medial olivocochlear fibers, comparing those from fibers that innervate the cochlear base with those from fibers that innervate the cochlear apex. Basal fibers give off dorsal branches to the granule cell lamina and ventral branches to the auditory nerve root. Apical fibers give off few dorsal branches but many ventral branches that terminate rostrally to the nerve root. This cochleotopic mapping of medial olivocochlear branches corresponds in a general way to that of afferent fibers. Unlike afferent fibers, however, the branches terminate primarily along the edges of the cochlear nucleus. In the mouse, the particular edges of termination are (1) the medial border of the ventral cochlear nucleus where it meets the underlying vestibular nerve root, and (2) the border between the ventral cochlear nucleus and the granule cell lamina. Neurons and dendrites of these border regions may thus integrate efferent and afferent information in a frequency-specific manner.

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