Organization of the nigro-tecto-bulbar pathway to the parvicellular reticular formation: a light- and electron-microscopic study in the rat
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We examined a nigro-tecto-bulbar pathway to the parvicellular reticular formation (RFp), where many premotor neurons for orofacial motor nuclei are known to be distributed, by using a combined anterograde and retrograde tracing method. After contralateral injections of biotinylated dextranamine (BDA) into the dorsolateral part of the substantia nigra (SNr) and cholera toxin B subunit (CTb) into the RFp, overlapping distributions of BDA-labeled terminals and CTb-labeled neuronal cell bodies were found in the lateralmost part of the superior colliculus (SC) ipsilateral or contralateral to the site of BDA injection or CTb injection, respectively. After contralateral injections of BDA into the SNr and horseradish peroxidase conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-HRP) injection into the RFp, ipsilateral labeled axon terminals with BDA were found to make symmetrical synaptic contacts with the somata and dendrites of contralateral labeled neurons with WGA-HRP in the lateralmost part of the SC. Furthermore, we demonstrated that BDA-labeled axon terminals were immunoreactive for GABA, by using the anterograde tracing method combined with immunohistochemistry for GABA. Thus, GABA-like immunoreactive fibers originating from the dorsolateral part of the SNr make monosynaptic contacts with the tectal neurons sending their axons to the RFp.
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