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David K. Ryugo (2007) Projections of low spontaneous rate, high threshold auditory nerve fibers to the small cell cap of the cochlear nucleus in cats. Neuroscience doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.10.052
The marginal shell of the anteroventral cochlear nucleus houses small cells that are distinct from the overlying microneurons of the granule cell domain and the underlying projection neurons of the magnocellular core. This thin shell of small cells and associated neuropil receives auditory nerve input from only the low (<18 spikes/s) spontaneous rate (SR), high threshold auditory nerve fibers; high SR, low threshold fibers do not project there. It should be noted, that most of these auditory nerve terminations reside in the neuropil and intermix with dendrites that originate outside the shell. Consequently, electron microscopy is necessary to determine the synaptic targets. For this report, the terminations of intracellularly labeled low SR auditory nerve fibers in the small cell of cats cap were mapped through serial sections using a light microscope. The terminals were then examined with an electron microscope and found to form synapses with the somata and dendrites of small cells. Moreover, the small cell dendrites were identifiable by an abundance of microtubules and the presence of polyribosomes that were free or associated with membranous cisterns. These data contribute to the concept of a high threshold feedback circuit to the inner ear, and reveal translational machinery for local control of activity-dependent synaptic modification.
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