Trigeminal ganglion innervation of the cochlea - A retrograde transport study

Z. Vass, S. E. Shore, A. L. Nuttall, G. Jancsó, P. B. Brechtelsbauer, J. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Innervation patterns of sensory nerves from the trigeminal ganglion to the cochlear blood vessels were studied using retrograde transport of wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase. Guinea-pigs (n=7) were unilaterally implanted with an osmotic pump and a cannula for cochlear delivery of 2% or 20% wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (Group 1), 2% wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase followed by 100 μmol capsaicin (Group 2), or vehicle alone. Histological sections of the trigeminal ganglia, the C1 and C2 dorsal ganglia, the superior and inferior ganglia of the glossopharyngeal nerve bilaterally, the midbrain and the brainstem were obtained after 48 h of infusion. In Group 1, a large number of labeled nerve cell bodies were observed in the anteromedial portion of the trigeminal ganglion and at the origin of the ophthalmic nerve. Some labeled cells were also found on the lateral side of the ophthalmic nerve, as well as on the medial side of the maxillary nerve root. Capsaicin pretreatment significantly reduced the density of labeled neurons in the trigeminal ganglion. A few labeled neurons were also found in the trigeminal brainstem nucleus complex and in certain auditory brainstem nuclei. No wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase-positive cells were observed in the spinal C1 or C2 cervical ganglia or in the superior or inferior glossopharyngeal ganglia. In contrast, wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase application to the middle ear resulted in labeled cells in the middle posterolateral portion of the trigeminal ganglia and in the superior ganglia of the glossopharyngeal nerve. These results provide the first direct evidence that the trigeminal ganglion sends projections to the cochlea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-615
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 12 1997


  • C1 and C2 dorsal root ganglia
  • Capsaicin
  • Cochlea
  • Retrograde axonal transport
  • Sensory nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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