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Brain Res. 1984 Oct 8;311(1):7-22.

Mesencephalic projections to the facial nucleus in the cat. An autoradiographical tracing study.


In 33 cats the projections of different parts of the mesencephalon to the facial nucleus were studied with the aid of the autoradiographical tracing method. The results indicate the existence of many different mesencephalo-facial pathways. The dorsomedial facial subnucleus, containing motoneurons innervating ear muscles, receives afferents from 4 different mesencephalic areas: a, the most rostral mesencephalic reticular formation; b, the nucleus of Darkschewitsch and/or the ventral part of the rostral PAG; c, the interstitial nucleus of Cajal and/or the mesencephalic tegmentum dorsomedial to the red nucleus. These areas project bilaterally by way of an ipsilateral medial tegmental pathway. The medial part of the deep tectum. This area projects bilaterally by way of the tecto-spinal tract. The lateral mesencephalic tegmentum close to the parabigeminal nucleus. This area projects mainly contralaterally by way of a separate contralateral lateral tegmental fiber bundle. The mesencephalic tegmentum just dorsolateral to the red nucleus and perhaps from the dorsolateral red nucleus itself. This area projects contralaterally by way of the rubrospinal tract. The intermediate facial subnucleus containing motoneurons innervating the muscle around the eye, receives afferents from two different mesencephalic areas: The dorsal part of the rostral as well as caudal red nucleus (but not from its caudal pole) and from the dorsally adjoining mesencephalic tegmentum including the area of the nucleus of Darkschewitsch and the interstitial nucleus of Cajal. These areas project contralaterally by way of the contralateral rubrospinal tract. The nucleus of the optic tract and/or the olivary pretectal nucleus. This area projects contralaterally by way of a contralateral medial tegmental pathway. The lateral and ventrolateral facial subnuclei containing motoneurons innervating the muscles around the mouth receive afferents from two different mesencephalic areas: The lateral part of the deep tectal layers. This area projects contralaterally by way of the tecto-spinal tract. The nucleus raphe dorsalis and perhaps the nucleus centralis superior. This area projects by way of the lateral tegmentum of caudal pons and medulla.

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