We determined the course of myelination of the chorda tympani in rats aged from 4- to 30-days-old. the interval of the most rapid developmental changes in neurophysiologieal taste responses and behavioral discrimination among chemical stimuli. The overall number of axons in rats aged from 16- to 30-days-old and in mature 120-day-old animals were the same and averaged 1,500. By 30 days, rats had 80% of the total number of myelinated axons observed in adults, but the average thickness of the myelin sheath per neuron and the proportion of the total cross-sectional area that were only about 60% of adult values. Observed increases in myelination closely parallel decreasing response latencies of single chorda tympani fibers to tongue stimulation with salts.
- Chorda tympani
- Facial nerve