Neuronal morphology and efferent projections of the dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus in the rat.
Bajo VM., Merchán MA., López DE., Rouiller EM.
The dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus (DLL) is the main source of inhibitory influence in the auditory brainstem of mammals. The cytoarchitecture and connectional properties of DLL were established in the cat in contrast to the rat. The goal of the present study was to establish to what extent the anatomical properties of the rat DLL compare to those of the cat, thus providing a basis of interpretation for future functional studies in the rat, an animal model used more and more in the auditory system. DLL of the rat contains four well-differentiated neuronal types, as seen in Nissl-stained material. Type I neurons are large and multipolar with abundant cytoplasm and darkly stained Nissl substance. Type II neurons are large, bipolar and darkly stained in Nissl material. Type III neurons are medium in size and their soma is round or ovoid. Type IV neurons are small and round with scant cytoplasm; they seem to be also the least common neuronal type of the DLL. After Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin or biocytin injections in the DLL, fibers and terminals labeled by orthograde transport were observed in the corresponding region of the contralateral DLL and in the inferior colliculus, bilaterally. A few labeled fibers and terminal fields were seen in the deep layers of the superior colliculus bilaterally, as well as in the medial division of the medial geniculate body and, even more rostrally, in the posterior nucleus of the thalamus. Descending projections from DLL terminated in the periolivary regions of the ipsilateral superior olivary complex. Retrograde tracing based on injections of horseradish peroxidase in the various targets of the DLL confirmed the connections established with orthograde labeling.