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A direct projection from the medial vestibular nucleus to the cervical spinal dorsal horn of the rat, as demonstrated by anterograde and retrograde tracing

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Summary

Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin and wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase were iontophoretically injected into different parts of the vestibular nuclear complex (VNC) of the rat. Injections centered into the caudal part of the medial vestibular nucleus revealed a vestibulospinal projection predominantly to the dorsal horn of the cervical spinal cord, besides the expected projection to the intermediate zone (IZ) and ventral horn (VH). While most of the anterogradely labelled fibres could be localized in laminae III to V, some scattered fibres were also seen in laminae I and VI. Lamina II remained free of labelling. The dorsal horn (DH) area with detectable anterograde labelling showed a rostrocaudal extension from C1-C6. Injections into other parts of the VNC labelled fibres and terminals in the IZ and VH while the DH remained almost free of labelling. Additionally, fluorogold and wheat germ agglutininhorseradish peroxidase were pressure- or iontophoretically injected at different levels into the spinal cord to confirm the projection to the dorsal horn by means of retrograde tracing. Labelled neurons in the area of the medial vestibular nucleus (MVN), from which anterograde labelling in the DH was obtained, were only detectable after fluorogold and wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase injections into the cervical spinal cord, in particular its DH. This projection from the caudal medial vestibular nucleus to the dorsal horn of the cervical spinal cord probably enables the VNC to influence sensory processing in the DH, in addition to its well-established influence on posture and locomotion via projections to the intermediate zone and ventral horn.

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Abbreviations

BSA :

bovine serum albumin

CuN :

cuneate nucleus

CCN :

central cervical nucleus

cMVN :

caudal medial vestibular nucleus

cVST :

caudal vestibulospinal tract

DAB :

diaminobenzidine

DH :

dorsal horn

DRG :

dorsal root ganglia

DVN :

descending vestibular nucleus

ECN :

external cuneate nucleus

FCS :

fetal calf serum

FG :

fluorogold

HRP :

horseradish peroxidase

icp :

inferior cerebellar peduncle

In :

intercalated nucleus

IZ :

intermediate zone

LVN :

lateral vestibular nucleus

LVST :

lateral vestibulospinal tract

mlf :

medial longitudinal fasciculus

MVN :

medial vestibular nucleus

MVST :

medial vestibulospinal tract

PHA-L :

Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin

PrH :

praepositus hypoglossi nucleus

rMVN :

rostral medial vestibular nucleus

Ro :

Roller's nucleus

SVN :

superior vestibular nucleus

TMB :

tetramethylbenzidine

VH :

ventral horn

VNC :

vestibular nuclear complex

WGAHRP :

wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase

12 :

hypoglossal nucleus

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Dedicated to Prof. J.W. Rohen on the occasion of his 70th birthday

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Bankoul, S., Neuhuber, W.L. A direct projection from the medial vestibular nucleus to the cervical spinal dorsal horn of the rat, as demonstrated by anterograde and retrograde tracing. Anat Embryol 185, 77–85 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00213603

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Key words

  • Vestibular nuclei
  • Spinal cord
  • Dorsal horn
  • Tracing study
  • Rat