The organization of projections from the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus (PSN) to the hypoglossal nucleus (XII) in the rat was investigated at the light and electron microscopic level with retrograde and anterograde axonal tracer techniques. Microiontophoretic injection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into XII resulted in retrograde labeling of neurons confined to the dorsal one-third of the PSN. Labeled neurons were found bilaterally, although a clear preponderance for ipsilateral distribution was evident. Most labeled neurons were found in the medial one-third and caudal two-thirds of the PSN. Labeled neurons were large (30-50 μm), round-to-pear shaped multipolar cells with dendrites oriented primarily in the mediolateral direction. At the electron microscopic level, HRP reaction product was found throughout the cytoplasm of soma and processes of PSN projection neurons. The ultrastructural characteristics of these cells included a round, centrally placed nucleus and invaginated nuclear envelope, sparse Nissl bodies, numerous free ribosomes, mitochondria, lysosomes and Golgi complexes. Three to four main stem dendrites gradually tapered from the cell body and numerous synaptic terminals impinged upon soma and dendrites of labeled PSN neurons. Microiontophoretic injection of tritiated amino acids or HRP into the dorsal one-third of the PSN resulted in moderately dense terminal labeling in XII bilaterally, although mainly ipsilaterally. Terminal labeling was found diffusely throughout all regions of XII. Fibers descended the brainstem in the dorsolateral reticular formation and entered XII ventrolaterally. At the electron microscopic level, boutons containing HRP reaction product were found to synapse on dendritic processes in XII. Labeled boutons were characterized by clear, spherical vesicles and an asymmetrical postsynaptic density. The significance of these results are discussed in relation to oro-lingual motor behavior.
- HRP histochemistry
- Hypoglossal nucleus
- Light and electron microscopy
- Principal sensory trigeminal nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas