Author(s): Alibardi L
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Abstract The first binaural integration within the auditory system responsible for sound localization depends upon commissural neurons that connect the two symmetrical cochlear nuclei. These cells in the deep polymorphic layer of the rat dorsal cochlear nucleus were identified with the electron microscope after injection of the retrograde tracer, Wheat Germ Agglutinin conjugated to Horseradish Peroxydase, into the contralateral cochlear nucleus. Commissural neurons are multipolar or bipolar with an oval to fusiform shape. Few commissural neurons, most inhibitory but also excitatory, connect most of the divisions of the rat cochlear nuclei. The most common type is a glycinergic, sometimes GABAergic, moderately large cell. Its ergastoplasm is organized into peripheral stacks of cisternae, and few axo-somatic synaptic boutons are present. Another type of commissural neuron is a medium-sized, spindle-shaped cell, glycine and GABA-negative, with sparse ergastoplasm and synaptic coverage. A giant, rare type of commissural neuron is glycine-positive and GABA-negative, with short peripheral stacks of ergastoplasmic cisternae. It is covered with synaptic boutons, many of which contain round synaptic vesicles. Another rare type of commissural neuron is a moderately large cell, oval to fusiform in shape, immunonegative for both glycine and GABA, and contacted by many axo-somatic boutons. It contains large dense mitochondria and numerous dense core vesicles of peptidergic type. Some labelled boutons, mostly inhibitory and probably derived from commissural neurons, contact pyramidal, cartwheel, giant and tuberculo-ventral neurons. The prevalent inhibition of electrical activity in a cochlear nucleus observed after stimulation of the contralateral cochlear nucleus may be due to commissural inhibitory terminals which contact excitatory neurons such as pyramidal and giant cells. Other inhibitory commissural terminals which contact inhibitory neurons such as cartwheel and tuberculo-ventral neurons, may explain the stimulation of electrical activity in the DCN after contralateral stimulation.
This article was published in Ann Anat
and referenced in Otolaryngology: Open Access