Organization of bilateral spinal projections to the lateral reticular nucleus of the rat.

A. Garifoli, T. Maci, Va. Perciavalle, Vi. Perciavalle


The present study was carried out to analyze the topography of bilateral spinal projections to the lateral reticular nucleus (LRN). We used retrograde transport of fluorescent tracers Fast Blue and Diamidino Yellow to identify spinal neurons projecting to the ipsilateral and-or contralateral LRN, as well as orthograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin to identify the LRN areas where spinoreticular axons terminate. Orthograde labeling confirmed that bilateral spinoreticular projections coming from cervical and upper-thoracic segments terminate in the magnocellular division of LRN, while those coming from the lower-thoracic, lumbar and sacral segments end in the parvocellular division of the nucleus; only a sparse spinal input has been observed in the subtrigeminal division of LRN. Retrograde labeling showed that labeled neurons were present at all spinal levels and in particular large numbers in the cervical and lumbar enlargements. Retrogradely single-labeled cells were located, with contralateral predominance, in all segments of the spinal cord, within laminae IV, V, VI, VIII, and X, whereas in laminae III and VII labeled neurons were mainly observed ipsilaterally. Furthermore, a small fraction of double-labeled cells (7.4%) was observed throughout the spinal cord, mainly in laminae III, IV, VII and VIII.

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