Date of Completion

May 2006

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


The dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) receives auditory information via the auditory nerve coming from the cochlea. It is responsible for much of the integration of auditory information, and it projects this auditory information to higher auditory brain centers for further processing. This study focuses on the DCN of adult Rhesus monkeys to characterize two specific cell types, the fusiform and cartwheel cell, based on morphometric parameters and type of glutamate receptor they express. The fusiform cell is the main projection neuron, while the cartwheel cell is the main inhibitory interneuron. Expression of AMPA glutamate receptor subunits is localized to certain cell types. The activity of the CN depends on the AMPA receptor subunit composition and expression.

Immunocytochemistry, using specific antibodies for AMPA glutamate receptor subunits GluR1, GluR2/3 and GluR4, was used in conjunction with morphometry to determine the location, morphological characteristics and expression of AMPA receptor subunits in fusiform and cartwheel cells in the primate DCN. Qualitative as well as quantitative data indicates that there are important morphological differences in cell location and expression of AMPA glutamate receptor subunits between the rodent DCN and that of primates. GluR2/3 is widely expressed in the primate DCN. GluR1 is also widely expressed in the primate DCN. GluR4 is diffusely expressed. Expression of GluR2/3 and GluR4 in the primate is similar to that of the rodent. However, expression of GluR1 is different. GluR1 is only expressed by cartwheel cells in the rodent DCN, but is expressed by a variety of cells, including fusiform cells, in the DCN of the primate.