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1.  Organization of the Auditory Brainstem in a Lizard, Gekko gecko. I. Auditory Nerve, Cochlear Nuclei, and Superior Olivary Nuclei 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2012;520(8):1784-1799.
We used tract tracing to reveal the connections of the auditory brainstem in the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko). The auditory nerve has two divisions, a rostroventrally directed projection of mid- to high best-frequency fibers to the nucleus angularis (NA) and a more dorsal and caudal projection of low to middle best-frequency fibers that bifurcate to project to both the NA and the nucleus magnocellularis (NM). The projection to NM formed large somatic terminals and bouton terminals. NM projected bilaterally to the second-order nucleus laminaris (NL), such that the ipsilateral projection innervated the dorsal NL neuropil, whereas the contralateral projection crossed the midline and innervated the ventral dendrites of NL neurons. Neurons in NL were generally bitufted, with dorsoventrally oriented dendrites. NL projected to the contralateral torus semicircularis and to the contralateral ventral superior olive (SOv). NA projected to ipsilateral dorsal superior olive (SOd), sent a major projection to the contralateral SOv, and projected to torus semicircularis. The SOd projected to the contralateral SOv, which projected back to the ipsilateral NM, NL, and NA. These results suggest homologous patterns of auditory connections in lizards and archosaurs but also different processing of low- and high-frequency information in the brainstem.
PMCID: PMC4300985  PMID: 22120438
auditory nerve; ITD; cochlear nuclei; superior olive; reptile; lizard; tract tracing; Tokay gecko
2.  Vestibular nuclei characterized by calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity and tract tracing in Gekko gecko 
Hearing research  2012;296:1-12.
Immunohistochemical techniques were used to describe the distribution of the calcium binding proteins calretinin, calbindin and parvalbumin as well as synaptic vesicle protein 2 in the vestibular nuclei of the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko). In addition, tract tracing was used to investigate connections between the vestibular nerves and brainstem nuclei. Seven vestibular nuclei were recognized: the nuclei cerebellaris lateralis (Cerl), vestibularis dorsolateralis (Vedl), ventrolateralis (Vevl), ventromedialis (Vevm), tangentialis (Vetg), ovalis (VeO) and descendens (Veds). Vestibular fibers entered the brainstem with the ascending branch projecting to Vedl and Cerl, the lateral descending branch to Veds, and the medial descending branch to ipsilateral Vevl. Cerl lay most rostral, in the cerebellar peduncle. Vedl, located rostrally, was ventral to the cerebellar peduncle, and consisted of loosely arranged multipolar and monopolar cells. Vevl was found at the level of the vestibular nerve root and contained conspicuously large cells and medium-sized cells. Veds is a large nucleus, the most rostral portion of which is situated lateral and ventral to Vevl, and occupies much of the dorsal brainstem extending caudally through the medulla. VeO is a spherically shaped cell group lateral to the auditory nucleus magnocellularis and dorsal to the caudal part of Vevl. Vevm and Vetg were small in the present study. Except for VeO, all other vestibular nuclei appear directly comparable to counterparts in other reptiles and birds based on their location, cytoarchitecture, and connections, indicating these are conserved features of the vestibular system.
PMCID: PMC4101695  PMID: 23201031
3.  Specialization for underwater hearing by the tympanic middle ear of the turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans 
Turtles, like other amphibious animals, face a trade-off between terrestrial and aquatic hearing. We used laser vibrometry and auditory brainstem responses to measure their sensitivity to vibration stimuli and to airborne versus underwater sound. Turtles are most sensitive to sound underwater, and their sensitivity depends on the large middle ear, which has a compliant tympanic disc attached to the columella. Behind the disc, the middle ear is a large air-filled cavity with a volume of approximately 0.5 ml and a resonance frequency of approximately 500 Hz underwater. Laser vibrometry measurements underwater showed peak vibrations at 500–600 Hz with a maximum of 300 µm s−1 Pa−1, approximately 100 times more than the surrounding water. In air, the auditory brainstem response audiogram showed a best sensitivity to sound of 300–500 Hz. Audiograms before and after removing the skin covering reveal that the cartilaginous tympanic disc shows unchanged sensitivity, indicating that the tympanic disc, and not the overlying skin, is the key sound receiver. If air and water thresholds are compared in terms of sound intensity, thresholds in water are approximately 20–30 dB lower than in air. Therefore, this tympanic ear is specialized for underwater hearing, most probably because sound-induced pulsations of the air in the middle ear cavity drive the tympanic disc.
PMCID: PMC3367789  PMID: 22438494
underwater sound; evolution; cochlea; auditory brainstem response

Results 1-3 (3)