What Makes Subcortical Barrels?

Requisite Trigeminal Circuitry and Developmental Mechanisms
  • Theodore A. Henderson
  • Mark F. Jacquin
Part of the Cerebral Cortex book series (CECO, volume 11)


The spatial arrangement of the mystacial vibrissae, or whiskers, on the rodent’s face is represented in most of the trigeminal (V) neuraxis by the patterning of afferent terminals, neuronal somata, and dendritic processes, which appears as an array of patches or cell rings (see Fig. 1 in Woolsey, 1990). In layer IV of the cerebral cortex, the cell aggregates are referred to as barrels (Woolsey and Van der Loos, 1970). In the ventroposteromedial thalamic nucleus, whisker-related cell groupings are referred to as barreloids (Van der Loos, 1976). In the V brainstem nuclear complex, analogous cell clusters are called barrelettes (Ma, 1991), and they occur in subnuclei principalis (PrV), interpolaris (SpVi), and caudalis (SpVc). In three dimensions, subcortical whisker-related patterns appear as columns of afferent terminals and postsynaptic neuronal processes running rostrocaudally in the V complex and obliquely in the thalamus. The afferent axons and cells within each column are best responsive to the somatotopically appropriate whisker.


Nerve Growth Factor Ganglion Cell Trigeminal Ganglion Primary Afferents Nerve Growth Factor Receptor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore A. Henderson
    • 1
  • Mark F. Jacquin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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