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Vestibular nuclei characterized by calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity and tract tracing in Gekko gecko

Song, J;Wang, W;Carr, CE;Dai, Z;Tang, Y;

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.