Auditory pathway and auditory activation of primary visual targets in the blind mole rat (Spalax ehrenbergi): I. 2‐deoxyglucose study of subcortical centers

Gilles Bronchti, Peter Heil, Henning Scheich, Zvi Wollberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations

Abstract

The blind mole rat Spalax ehrenbergi is a subterranean rodent that shows striking behavioral, structural, and physiological adaptations to fossorial life including highly degenerated eyes and optic nerves and a behavioral audiogram that indicates high specialization for low‐frequency hearing. A 2‐deoxyglucose functional mapping of acoustically activated structures, in conjunction with Nissl/Klüver‐Barrera‐stained material, revealed a typical mammalian auditory pathway with some indications for specialized low‐frequency hearing such as a poorly differentiated lateral nucleus and a well‐developed medial nucleus in the superior olive complex. The most striking finding was a marked 2‐deoxyglucose labeling of the dorsal lateral geniculate body and of cortical regions that correspond to visual areas in sighted rodents. The results render the blind mole rat a good model system for studying natural neural plasticity and intermodal compensation. In this report, we confine ourselves to the subcortical levels. The cortical level will be dealt comprehensively in a following paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-274
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume284
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jun 1989

Keywords

  • behavioral audiogram
  • cochlear destruction
  • intermodal compensation
  • low‐frequency hearing
  • neuroplasticity

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