Strengthening of the efferent olivocochlear system leads to synaptic dysfunction and tonotopy disruption of a central auditory nucleus

Mariano N. Di Guilmi*, Luis E. Boero, Valeria C. Castagna, Adrián Rodríguez-Contreras, Carolina Wedemeyer, María Eugenia Gómez-Casati, Ana Belén Elgoyhen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The auditory system in many mammals is immature at birth but precisely organized in adults. Spontaneous activity in the inner ear plays a critical role in guiding this maturation process. This is shaped by an efferent pathway that descends from the brainstem and makes transient direct synaptic contacts with inner hair cells. In this work, we used an α9 cholinergic nicotinic receptor knock-in mouse model (of either sex) with enhanced medial efferent activity (Chrna9L9'T, L9'T) to further understand the role of the olivocochlear system in the correct establishment of auditory circuits. Wave III of auditory brainstem responses (which represents synchronized activity of synapses within the superior olivary complex) was smaller in L9'T mice, suggesting a central dysfunction. The mechanism underlying this functional alteration was analyzed in brain slices containing the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB), where neurons are topographically organized along a mediolateral (ML) axis. The topographic organization of MNTB physiological properties observed in wildtype (WT) was abolished in L9'T mice. Additionally, electrophysiological recordings in slices indicated MNTB synaptic alterations. In vivo multielectrode recordings showed that the overall level of MNTB activity was reduced in the L9'T. The present results indicate that the transient cochlear efferent innervation to inner hair cells during the critical period before the onset of hearing is involved in the refinement of topographic maps as well as in setting the properties of synaptic transmission at a central auditory nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7037-7048
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 4 2019


  • Chrna9L9'T
  • Efferent MOC inhibition
  • MNTB
  • Tonotopy
  • α9α10 nAChR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Strengthening of the efferent olivocochlear system leads to synaptic dysfunction and tonotopy disruption of a central auditory nucleus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this