Hear Res 2019 Jun 11;377:234-246. Epub 2019 Apr 11.
Department of Anatomy, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, PA, United States. Electronic address:
The inferior colliculus (IC) is a major relay station for both ascending and descending auditory pathways. The IC is divided into three major regions, the external cortex (ECIC), the dorsal cortex (DCIC) and the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (CNIC). While the ECIC and DCIC receive many non-auditory inputs, the CNIC receives predominantly auditory input ascending within the lateral lemniscus and descending input from the cerebral cortex. Recent work in animal models emphasizes the complexity of the CNIC and provides evidence for multiple ascending informational streams reaching this nucleus. Despite an abundance of research on the CNIC in laboratory animals, the microscopic anatomy and neurochemistry of the human CNIC is poorly understood. Herein, we utilize a combination of gross morphology, myelin staining, Nissl staining, histochemistry, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence to characterize the human CNIC. Our results indicate that the human CNIC occupies a volume of approximately 22.4 mm and includes over 420,000 neurons. The human CNIC is dominated by round/oval neurons arranged with their long axis parallel to fibrodendritic lamina. Additionally, the vast majority of CNIC neurons are associated with a perineuronal net, there is an abundance of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive axons and puncta and neurons immunoreactive for glutamic acid decarboxylase. These results are largely consistent with observations in laboratory animals.