Octavolateral projections and organization in the medulla of a teleost fish, the sleeper goby (Dormitator latifrons)

Seth M. Tomchik, Zhongmin Lu

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31 Scopus citations


This study is the first to employ simultaneous labeling with different colored fluorescent dyes and confocal microscopy to investigate the central projections of the octavolateral nerves in any fish. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the hindbrain octavolateral nuclei were made and overlap of octavolateral projections was assessed in a teleost, the sleeper goby (Dormitator latifrons). The octavolateral nerves, which innervate the otolithic organs, semicircular canals, and lateral lines, project to seven hindbrain nuclei in diverse, complex patterns. The medulla is generally organized with auditory regions dorsal to vestibular regions. The intermediate subdivision of the descending octaval nucleus (DON) receives interdigitating projections from the otolithic organs, and the dorsomedial DON likely integrates multiple auditory inputs. Afferents from the three otolithic organs (the utricle, saccule, and lagena) project to the intermediate DON in approximately equal proportion, supporting physiological evidence that suggests auditory roles for all three otolithic organs in the sleeper goby. The anterior octaval nucleus receives partially segregated inputs from the octavolateral organs. The dorsal division of the magnocellular octaval nucleus (MgON) receives highly overlapping otolithic organ and semicircular canal input, and we propose that this region is a major octaval integration center. Regions in the ventral medulla (the tangential octaval nucleus, ventral DON, and ventral MgON) receive mainly utricular and semicircular canal inputs, suggesting vestibular roles. Each semicircular canal nerve projects to distinct regions of the hindbrain, with little overlap in most octaval nuclei. Efferent neurons receive bilateral input and project unilaterally to the octavolateral organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-117
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2005


  • Auditory
  • Hearing
  • Hindbrain
  • Lateral line
  • Otolithic organ
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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