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J Anat. Oct 1996; 189(Pt 2): 349–362.
PMCID: PMC1167752

The composition and central projections of the internal auricular nerves of the dog.

Abstract

The cranial components and central terminations of the sensory nerves supplying the concave surface of the puppy's pinna, namely, the rostral, middle and caudal internal auricular nerves (RIAN, MIAN and CIAN) were investigated using horseradish peroxidase retrograde and transganglionic labelling techniques. All the 3 internal auricular nerves received contributions from the vagus. The RIAN received additional fibres from the trigeminal nerve while the MIAN and CIAN contained fibres derived from the facial nerves. In the brainstem, collaterals from the descending fibres of the afferents were given off at all levels to the medially located spinal trigeminal nucleus (SpV) which extended rostocaudally from the principal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve, subnuclei oralis, interpolaris and caudalis of the SpV to C1 or C2 cervical segment. The greatest density of central projections was observed in the subnucleus caudalis and C1. In the latter, the terminal field in the dorsal horn was roughly wedge-shaped, tapering off medially from lamina I towards lamina V. A somatotopic organisation was observed in the spinal trigeminal tract (SpVtr) and spinal trigeminal nucleus (SpV) in which the projection fibres and terminal fields of the RIAN were located lateral to those of the MIAN and CIAN. Some nontrigeminal nuclei, e.g. paratrigeminal and cuneate nuclei, nucleus X and the nucleus of the solitary tract were also labelled following HRP application to the internal auricular nerves. The localisation of the central projections of the internal auricular nerves as well as the 2nd order neurons in some specific nuclei to which the afferent fibres project is consistent with the concept of a brainstem somatovisceral link.

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Selected References

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