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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Mar 15;405(3):345-58.

Quantitative analysis of the dendritic architectures of cat hypoglossal motoneurons stained intracellularly with horseradish peroxidase.

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Department of Oral Anatomy, Osaka University Faculty of Dentistry, Suita, Japan.


Little is known about the dendritic architecture of cat hypoglossal motoneurons. Thus, the present study was done to provide quantitative descriptions of hypoglossal motoneurons and to determine correlations between dendritic size parameters by using the intracellular horseradish peroxidase (HRP) injection technique in the cat. Twelve hypoglossal motoneurons stained with HRP were antidromically activated by stimulation applied to the medial branch of hypoglossal nerve. Eight (type I) and four (type II) of the 12 motoneurons were located in the ventral and dorsal parts of the ventromedial subnucleus of hypoglossal nucleus, respectively. The somatodendritic morphology of the two types of neurons was remarkably different, especially in the dendritic arborization pattern. The type I neurons established an egg-shaped dendritic tree that was distributed through the nucleus to the reticular formation; the type II dendritic tree was confined within the nucleus and presented a rostrocaudally oriented, mirror-image, fan-shape appearance. The total dendritic area and length and the number of terminations and branch points were significantly larger for type I than for type II neurons. For the two types of neuron, there was a positive correlation between stem dendritic diameter and several dendritic size parameters. Although the slopes of the regression lines were slightly different between the two, these were not statistically significant. The present study provides evidence that hypoglossal motoneurons located in the ventromedial subnucleus could be divided into two types according to the dendritic arborization pattern and quantitative analysis of the dendritic tree and according to neuronal location and suggests that the two types of hypoglossal motoneurons can be viewed as intrinsically distinct cell types: type I and type II, which innervate extrinsic and intrinsic muscles, respectively. In addition, the morphometric analysis made it possible to estimate the size of the dendritic tree by measuring the stem dendritic diameter.

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