Pseudorabies virus was used to label transneuronally descending auditory projections following intracochlear injections. At different time points after injection, virus-infected cells were detected immunohistochemically in the central nervous system. Initially (25 h), virus was transported retrogradely to olivocochlear cells in the pons. At 32-72 h after injection, labelling occurred in higher order auditory brainstem nuclei as well as in the locus coeruleus and pontine dorsal raphe. At 90-108 h, virus-infected neurons were found bilaterally in the medial geniculate body and in layer V of the auditory cortex. Viral transneuronal labelling in the auditory cortex after intracochlear application confirms the existence of a continuous descending chain of neurons from the auditory cortex to the cochlea, via the medial and lateral olivocochlear systems. The transneuronal labelling of the locus coeruleus and pontine dorsal raphe suggests that noradrenergic and serotonergic inputs may substantially influence the activity of olivocochlear cells, and thus the cochlea.
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