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Spinocervical neurons and dorsal horn neurons projecting to the dorsal column nuclei through the dorsolateral fascicle: a retrograde HRP study in the cat

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Spinocervical cells were identified by retrograde labelling from implants of HRP in the dorsolateral fascicle after destruction of the dorsal columns. They lay in laminae III and IV throughout the cord in estimated numbers of 700, 450 and 1100 in lumbosacral enlargement, upper lumbar and thoracic cord, and brachial enlargement respectively. In the cord enlargements dendritic trees were mainly or exclusively developed dorsally, with rostrocaudal exceeding mediolateral spread, and a gradient across the dorsal horn, lateral cells showing this contrast most strongly. Dendritic spread was limited at the II/III laminar boundary. Transition occurred at the edge of the enlargements to a shape with extreme rostrocaudal elongation of perikarya and of dendritic trees in upper lumbar and thoracic segments. Axons of Spinocervical cells ascended in the most dorsal part of the fascicle, distinguishable from the larger spinocerebellar bundle lying adjacent and ventral. The initial axonal course was tortuous, with local collateral branching, the axon sometimes travelling briefly in the dorsal column. In other experiments implants were made ipsilaterally in the dorsal column nuclei after destruction of the dorsal columns. Cells were few and relatively poorly labelled, for which the reasons are discussed. Some such cells, lying in lamina IV, were similar to spinocervical tract cells and may have projected to both lateral cervical and dorsal column nuclei. Others, at the extreme lateral edge of the mid-dorsal horn, were quite different, with dendrites greatly extended rostrocaudally and primary and higher order dendrites projecting ventrally from the perikaryon.

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Correspondence to G. Gordon.

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Enevoldson, T.P., Gordon, G. Spinocervical neurons and dorsal horn neurons projecting to the dorsal column nuclei through the dorsolateral fascicle: a retrograde HRP study in the cat. Exp Brain Res 75, 621–630 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00249913

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Key words

  • Dorsal horn
  • Somaesthetic system
  • Spinocervical tract
  • Dorsolateral fascicle
  • Dorsal column nuclei
  • Retrograde HRP transport