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The vestibular nerve of the chinchilla. III. Peripheral innervation patterns in the utricular macula1. Nerve fibers supplying the utricular macula of the chinchilla were labeled by extracellular injection of horseradish peroxidase into the vestibular nerve. The peripheral terminations of individual fibers were reconstructed and related to the regions of the end organ they innervated and to the sizes of their parent axons. 2. The macula is divided into medial and lateral parts by the striola, a narrow zone that runs for almost the entire length of the sensory epithelium. The striola can be distinguished from the extrastriolar regions to either side of it by the wider spacing of its hair cells. Calyx endings in the striola have especially thick walls, and, unlike similar endings in the extrastriola, many of them innervate more than one hair cell. The striola occupies 10% of the sensory epithelium; the lateral extrastriola, 50%; and the medial extrastriola, 40%. 3. The utricular nerve penetrates the bony labyrinth anterior to the end organ. Axons reaching the anterior part of the sensory epithelium run directly through the connective tissue stroma. Those supplying more posterior regions first enter a fiber layer located at the bottom of the stroma. Approximately one-third of the axons bifurcate below the epithelium, usually within 5-20 microns of the basement membrane. Bifurcations are more common in fibers destined for the extrastriola than for the striola. 4. Both calyx and bouton endings were labeled. Calyces can be simple or complex. Simple calyces innervate individual hair cells, whereas complex calyces supply 2-4 adjacent hair cells. Complex endings are more heavily concentrated in the striola than in the extrastriola. Simple calyces and boutons are found in all parts of the epithelium. Calyces emerge from the parent axon or one of its thick branches. Boutons, whether en passant or terminal, are located on thin collaterals. 5. Fibers can be classified into calyx, bouton, or dimorphic categories. The first type only has calyx endings; the second, only bouton endings; and the third, both kinds of endings. Calyx units make up 6% of the labeled fibers, bouton units less than 2%, and dimorphic units greater than 92%. The three fiber types differ in the macular zones they supply and in the diameters of their parent axons. Calyx units were restricted to the striola. The few bouton units were found in the extrastriola.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Fernandez, C. (University of Chicago Illinois 60637)
Goldberg, J. M.
Baird, R. A.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of neurophysiology
Volume: 63
Issue: 4
ISSN: 0022-3077
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Neuroscience
Non-NASA Center