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Fine structure of the semicompact formation of the nucleus ambiguus of the rat

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 We investigated the fine structure of the semicompact formation of the nucleus ambiguus (AmS), which was identified by retrogradely labeled pharyngeal (PH) motoneurons. When cholera toxin subunit B-conjugated horseradish peroxidase was injected into the lower pharyngeal muscle, many retrogradely labeled PH neurons were found throughout the AmS. Besides the PH neurons, two types of neurons were recognized in the AmS: unlabeled medium-sized neurons and unlabeled small neurons. The PH neuron was large (27.6 × 44.1 μm) and polygonal, and contained many Nissl bodies and well-developed cell organelles with a prominent spherical nucleus. The medium-sized neuron was dark and oval (19.3 × 33.2 μm), and contained many free ribosomes and much swollen rough endoplasmic reticulum with a distorted oval nucleus. The small neuron was spindle-shaped (12.3 × 20.2 μm), and had poorly developed cell organelles with an irregularly shaped nucleus. The average number of axosomatic terminals in a sectional plane was largest in the PH neurons (32.8), smaller in the medium-sized neurons (23.1), and smallest in the small neurons (6.3). The number of axo-somatic terminals containing round vesicles (Gray’s type I) was almost equal to that of terminals containing pleomorphic vesicles (Gray’s type II) in the PH neuron, and slightly smaller in the small and the medium-sized neurons. About 60% of the axodendritic terminals were Gray’s type I, and 40% were type II. These results indicate that there are two different types of interneurons besides the PH motoneurons in the AmS.

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Accepted: 24 June 1997

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Hayakawa, T., Zheng, J., Seki, M. et al. Fine structure of the semicompact formation of the nucleus ambiguus of the rat. Anat Embryol 196, 465–476 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004290050114

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  • Key words Pharyngeal motoneuron
  • Cytoarchitecture
  • Retrograde tracing study
  • Swallowing
  • Synaptology