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Auton Neurosci. 2001 Mar 23;87(2-3):187-200.

Projections of the paratrigeminal nucleus to the ambiguus, rostroventrolateral and lateral reticular nuclei, and the solitary tract.

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Department of Biophysics, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil.


The paratrigerminal nucleus (Pa5), a constituent of the spinal interstitial system, was linked to the pressor effect caused by bradykinin injected in the dorsal lateral medulla of the rat. The nucleus receives primary afferent sensory fibers contained in branches of the trigeminal, glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves. In this investigation connections of the paratrigeminal nucleus to other medullary structures were studied with the use of retrograde and anterograde neuronal tracers. Fluorescent light microscopy analyses of medullary sections of rats injected with the retrograde transport tracer Fluoro-gold in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) or in the pressor area of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) revealed labeled neuronal cell bodies in the ipsi- and contralateral Pa5. FluoroGold microinjections in the caudal ventrolateral medulla (CVLM) did not produce fluorescent labeling of Pa5 neurons. Microinjection of the anterograde transport neuronal tracer biocytin in the Pa5 produced bilateral labeling of the solitary tract (sol). rostroventrolateral reticular nucleus (RVL), ambiguus nucleus (Amb), lateral reticular nucleus (LRt) and ipsilateral parabrachial nuclei, but not the contralateral Pa5. Confocal laser microscopy showed fluorescence labeling of fibers and presumptive terminal varicosities in the NTS, RVL, Amb and LRt. The present findings showing the paratrigeminal nucleus interposed between sensory afferent and stuctures associated to cardiovascular and respiratory functions, suggest that the structure may act as a medullary relay nucleus for sensory stimuli directly connecting primary afferents to structures mediating cardiovascular and respiratory reflexes.

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