The purpose of this study was to define the types and distribution of synaptic terminals in the hypoglossal nucleus (XII) of the rat. Based on differences in bouton and vesicle size and shape, synaptic specializations and association with postsynaptic organelles, five types of terminals were identified in XII. In order of decreasing frequency they were: 1) S-boutons (spherical vesicles with an asymmetrical synapse); 2) F-boutons (flattened vesicles with a symmetrical synapse); 3) P-boutons (pleomorphic admixture of flattened and spherical vesicles with a symmetrical synapse); 4) C-boutons (pleomorphic vesicles with a subsynaptic cistern); and 5) Tboutons (spherical vesicles with an asymmetrical synapse and subsynaptic dense bodies). S-boutons were the predominant type found on dendrites, while boutons containing flattened vesicles were more prevalent on motoneuron somata. C-boutons were restricted exclusively to cell bodies and large dendrites, and T-boutons were seen primarily on smaller dendritic profiles. These results are, in general, comparable to those previously described in the ventral horn and cranial nerve motor nuclei in several species. However, differences were noted. Specifically, large M-boutons and axo-axonic synapses were not observed in the present study. The functional significance of these findings are discussed in relation to oro-lingual behaviour.
- Hypoglossal nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas