Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Brain Res. 1980 Dec;2(3):235-64.

Descending projections of the locus coeruleus and subcoeruleus/medial parabrachial nuclei in monkey: axonal transport studies and dopamine-beta-hydroxylase immunocytochemistry.


Spinal projections originating in the dorsolateral pons in the ventral locus coeruleus and in the subcoeruleus and medial parabrachial nuclei were identified in monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) using the retrograde horseradish peroxidase tracing technique. Anterograde autoradiographic tracing studies were then carried out to determine the brain stem and spinal cord terminations of the neurons. Finally, results obtained with the axonal transport tracing methods were compared with the pattern of staining for noradrenergic cells and terminals revealed immunocytochemically with an antibody to dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DbetaH), the synthesizing enzyme for norepinephrine. The major findings of these studies are that two presumed noradrenergic cell groups of the dorsolateral pons, one corresponding to the nucleus locus coeruleus, the second to the subcoeruleus/medial parabrachial nuclei, give rise to descending projections. They differ significantly in their patterns of termination in the lower brain stem and spinal cord. Among the major terminations of the locus coeruleus pathway are projections to parasympathetic neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, the region of the nucleus ambiguus, and the sacral spinal cord. The terminations of the descending subcoeruleus/medial parabrachial pathway, in contrast, include projections to sympathetic preganglionic neurons of the intermediolateral cell column of the thoracic cord and heavier projections to somatic cranial nerve nuclei. Both pathways have additional widespread and bilateral terminations in various nuclei of the reticular formation, in the spinal dorsal horn (including the marginal zone), in the region around the central canal and in the ventral spinal gray matter. Since the origins and terminations of both these pathways correspond closely to the locations and patterns of terminations of noradrenaline-containing neurons, demonstrated here with DbetaH immunocytochemistry, norepinephrine (or epinephrine) is suggested to be the transmitter in both these descending systems.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk