Afferent innervation patterns of the saccule in pigeons.


The innervation patterns of vestibular saccular afferents were quantitatively investigated in pigeons using biotinylated dextran amine as a neural tracer and three-dimensional computer reconstruction. Type I hair cells were found throughout a large portion of the macula, with the highest density observed in the striola. Type II hair cells were located throughout the macula, with the highest density in the extrastriola. Three classes of afferent innervation patterns were observed, including calyx, dimorph, and bouton units, with 137 afferents being anatomically reconstructed and used for quantitative comparisons. Calyx afferents were located primarily in the striola, innervated a number of type I hair cells, and had small innervation areas. Most calyx afferent terminal fields were oriented parallel to the anterior-posterior axis and the morphological polarization reversal line. Dimorph afferents were located throughout the macula, contained fewer type I hair cells in a calyceal terminal than calyx afferents and had medium sized innervation areas. Bouton afferents were restricted to the extrastriola, with multi-branching fibers and large innervation areas. Most of the dimorph and bouton afferents had innervation fields that were oriented dorso-ventrally but were parallel to the neighboring reversal line. The organizational morphology of the saccule was found to be distinctly different from that of the avian utricle or lagena otolith organs and appears to represent a receptor organ undergoing evolutionary adaptation toward sensing linear motion in terrestrial and aerial species.

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@article{Zakir2003AfferentIP, title={Afferent innervation patterns of the saccule in pigeons.}, author={Mridha Md Zakir and David Huss and Jeff Dickman}, journal={Journal of neurophysiology}, year={2003}, volume={89 1}, pages={534-50} }