Development of ectopic projections from the ventral cochlear nucleus to the superior olivary complex induced by neonatal ablation of the contralateral cochlea

Leonard M. Kitzes, Glenn H. Kageyama, Malcolm N. Semple, Jonathan Kil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The ability of an animal to localize a sound in space requires the precise innervation of the superior olivary complex by the ventral cochlear nuclei on each side of the lower brainstem. This precise pattern of innervation could require an immutable recognition of appropriate targets by afferent processes arising from these nuclei. This possibility was investigated by destroying one cochlea of gerbil pups (Meriones unguiculatus) on the second postnatal day and assessing the projections from the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) on the unablated side to the superior olivary complex during the subsequent 2 weeks and after the animals had reached maturity. A crystal of 1, l′‐dioctadecyl‐3, 3, 3′, 3′‐tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) was inserted into VCN on the unablated side in animals ranging in age from 3 to 14 days. To assess the permanence of any altered pattern of innervation, horseradish peroxidase was injected into VCN on the unablated side in adult, neonatally ablated animals. Finally, electrophysiological responses to acoustic stimuli delivered to the ear on the unablated side were recorded in the superior olivary complex of adult animals to assess whether altered innervation patterns were functional. Normative data were derived from our accompanying study of the development of VCN projections to the superior olivary complex in normal gerbils (Kil et al., this issue). Whereas VCN normally projects to the lateral aspect of the ipsilateral medial superior olive and to the medial aspect of the contralateral medial superior olive in control animals, in experimental animals VCN on the unablated side projects to both sides of these nuclei. Whereas in the gerbil, VCN normally projects only to the hilar area and to the ventrolateral limb of the contralateral lateral superior olive, in experimental animals VCN on the unablated side projects throughout this nucleus. This induced projection is specific in that the efferents to each limb of the contralateral nucleus are linked to the normal projection to the homotopic region of the ipsilateral nucleus. Whereas VCN innervates the contralateral medial nucleus of the trapezoid body in control animals, in experimental animals VCN on the unablated side provides calyces of Held in the ipsilateral nucleus as well. The induced projections to these three major subnuclei of the superior olivary complex first appear within 24 hours of the cochlear ablation and continue to develop over at least the subsequent 11 days. Thus, prior to the day when the cochlea becomes functional, VCN has established specific ectopic projections to loci normally innervated by VCN on the ablated side. All induced ectopic projections observed in neonatal animals were also present in neonatally ablated adult animals, indicating their permanence. As in the case of the normal projections from VCN to these subnuclei, all labeled synapses contained round vesicles and formed asymmetric synaptic junctional complexes with dendrites and somata in these target nuclei. Electrophysiological responses of single units in the ipsilateral medial nucleus of the trapezoid body demonstrated that the induced calyces of Held in this structure are quite functional in adult animals. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-363
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume353
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 13 1995

Keywords

  • afferent processes
  • auditory brainstem
  • axogenesis
  • gerbil
  • interstitial budding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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