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Rautenberg, Philipp L.; Grothe, Benedikt ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7317-0615 and Felmy, Felix (2009): Quantification of the Three-Dimensional Morphology of Coincidence Detector Neurons in the Medial Superior Olive of Gerbils During Late Postnatal Development. In: Journal of Comparative Neurology,, Vol. 517, No. 3: pp. 385-396

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Abstract

In the mammalian medial superior olive (MSO), neurons compute the azimuthal location of sound sources by temporally precise coincidence detection. It is assumed that the dendritic morphology of MSO neurons plays a crucial role in this computational process. However, few quantitative data about the morphology of these neuronal coincidence detectors are available, limiting theoretical approaches. Such a quantitative morphological description of neurons of the mammalian MSO would also allow a comparative analysis with its avian analog, the nucleus laminaris. We used single-cell electroporation, microscopic reconstruction, and compartmentalization to extract anatomical parameters of MSO neurons and quantitatively describe their morphology and development between postnatal day 9 and 36. We found that developmental refinement occurs until P27, generating morphologically compact, cylinder-like cells with axons originating from the soma. The complexity of higher order dendrites decreases between postnatal days 9 and 21. This decrease in dendritic complexity is judged from counting and analyzing the location of dendritic branches and determining the distribution of the surface area and total length of neurons. During this developmental period, the average length of terminal branches increases about twofold, indicating an elimination of predominantly small branches. The cell volume increases more than 1.5-fold between P9 and P27, a change that can be attributed to an increase in dendritic diameter during this developmental period. The developmental profile of the morphology of MSO neurons obtained indicates that maturation is reached 2 weeks after hearing onset, J. Comp. Neurol. 517:385-396, 2009. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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