Plasticity of the superior olivary complex.
ABSTRACT The superior olivary complex (SOC) is part of the auditory brainstem of the vertebrate brain. Residing ventrally in the rhombencephalon, it receives sensory signals from both cochleae through multisynaptic pathways. Neurons of the SOC are also a target of bilateral descending projections. Ascending and descending efferents of the SOC affect the processing of auditory signals on both sides of the brainstem and in both organs of Corti. The pattern of connectivity indicates that the SOC fulfills functions of binaural signal integration serving sound localization. But whereas many of these connectional features are shared with the inferior colliculus (with the important exception of a projection to the inner ear), cellular and molecular investigations have shown that cells residing in SOC are unique in several respects. Unlike those of other auditory brainstem nuclei, they specifically express molecules known to be involved in development, plasticity, and learning (e.g., GAP-43 mRNA, specific subunits of integrin). Moreover, neurons of the SOC in adult mammals respond to various kinds of hearing impairment with the expression of plasticity-related substances (e.g., GAP-43, c-Jun, c-Fos, cytoskeletal elements), indicative of a restructuring of auditory connectivity. These observations suggest that the SOC is pivotal in the developmental and adaptive tuning of binaural processing in young and adult vertebrates.
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ABSTRACT: The effect of prior 'conditioning' noise exposures on the protection from subsequent higher level exposures was studied using four groups of chinchillas. The three experimental groups were 'conditioned' using a 0.5 kHz octave band noise at 95 dB SPL for 6 h a day. The first group was exposed to the noise once and allowed to recover for nine days prior to the second exposure. The second and third groups were exposed for ten and twenty days respectively. The first group showed only small reductions in threshold shift (TS) following the second exposure. The other two groups showed significant reductions in TS with repeated exposures. Following the last 'conditioning' exposure, all three experimental groups were allowed to recover for five days before exposing them to the same noise at 106 dB SPL for 48 h. Threshold shifts recorded following the 106 dB exposure were compared against those recorded in a control group exposed only to the higher level. Each of the three experimental groups developed significantly less permanent threshold shifts than the control group. However, there were no significant differences among the three experimental groups and the differences in hair cell losses were insignificant.Hearing Research 03/1993; 65(1-2):234-9. · 2.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Calbindin-D28k (CaBP) is a calcium-binding protein that is prominent in various parts of the mammalian auditory system. In order to shed some light on the possible role of CaBP during ontogeny, when calcium ions play key roles in several processes, the location of CaBP was examined immunocytochemically in the auditory system of the developing rat. This study focuses on the principal nuclei of the superior olivary complex, which show distinct CaBP labeling in the adult. Consistent with previous reports in the rat and other mammals, CaBP immunoreactivity in adults was intense in somata of the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) and in the neuropil (presumably in axons) of the lateral superior olive (LSO), the superior paraolivary nucleus (SPN), and the medial superior olive (MSO). In fetal and neonatal animals, however, the labeling pattern was strikingly different. Around birth, MNTB neurons are immunonegative for CaBP, whereas somata and processes in the LSO, probably neuronal, are heavily labeled at that age. This labeling pattern persists throughout the first week of postnatal life and begins to change at P8, when MNTB neurons become immunopositive for CaBP. During the next 10 days labeling intensity in MNTB neurons increases considerably, and the increase is paralleled by an increase in labeling intensity of the neuropil in the LSO, SPN, and MSO, indicating that the labeled processes in these nuclei may be axons originating from MNTB neurons. Immunoreactivity in LSO cells begins to decline around P8, decays rapidly between P10 and P18, and reaches its adult level around P28, when the CaBP labeling pattern in the whole superior olivary complex is indistinguishable from that in the adult. The present results show that the development of CaBP immunoreactivity in the rat superior olivary complex is characterized by two reciprocally related processes: as immunoreactivity within MNTB somata and fibers in the SPN, and LSO, and the MSO increases between P8 and about P21, the immunoreactivity in LSO neurons declines. CaBP immunoreactivity in LSO neurons is only transiently present, suggesting a critical period in development during which the control of Ca2+ homeostasis in LSO neurons may be of particular importance.The Journal of Comparative Neurology 09/1993; 334(1):59-74. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Olivocochlear neurons have somata in the superior olivary complex in the brainstem and project fibers to the cochlea. The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate the fiber pathways and branching patterns of olivocochlear fibers within the brainstem. Olivocochlear fibers were labeled by extracellular injections of biocytin into the cochlea of mice. The injections labeled two populations of olivocochlear fibers. Thin olivocochlear fibers arose from small somata of the lateral olivocochlear group located ipsilaterally in the lateral superior olive. Thick olivocochlear fibers arose from larger somata of the medial olivocochlear group located bilaterally in the periolivary nuclei. The lateral olivocochlear and medial olivocochlear fibers had similar courses but differed in their branching patterns. Branches from lateral olivocochlear fibers terminated near their somata of origin in the lateral superior olive or in the lateral vestibular nucleus. Branches from medial olivocochlear fibers terminated in the inferior vestibular nucleus or in the cochlear nuclear complex. A few branches from medial olivocochlear fibers projected to the contralateral side. Although they project primarily to the cochlea, olivocochlear neurons also give off branches to a variety of nuclei in the brainstem, thus involving auditory and non-auditory nuclei in the olivocochlear reflex system.The Journal of Comparative Neurology 12/1993; 337(4):600-13. · 3.66 Impact Factor