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J Comp Neurol. 1990 Nov 22;301(4):554-74.

Subdivisions and neuron types of the nucleus of the solitary tract that project to the parabrachial nucleus in the hamster.

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Department of Oral Biology, Ohio State University, College of Dentistry, Columbus 43210.


The solitary nuclear complex (NST) consists of a number of subdivisions that differ in their cytoarchitectonic features as well as in the amounts of inputs they receive from lingual afferent axons. In this study horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected into the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) of the hamster to determine which of these subdivisions contain cells that project to the pons. In the rostral, gustatory division of the NST, the rostral central subdivision contains the greatest number of labelled pontine-projection neurons. The rostral lateral subdivision contains moderate numbers of labelled cells; progressively fewer labelled cells are in the ventral, medial, and dorsal subdivisions. In the caudal, general viscerosensory division of the NST, the caudal central subdivision contains the majority of labelled cells, although fewer than its rostral counterpart. Progressively fewer cells are labelled in the medial, laminar, ventrolateral, and lateral subdivisions; none in the dorsolateral subdivision. Small horseradish peroxidase injections into the pons revealed that cells of the rostral central and rostral lateral subdivisions of the NST project to the medial subdivision of the PBN, predominantly to caudal and ventral parts of the subdivision. Cells of the caudal central and medial subdivisions of the NST project to the central lateral subdivision of the PBN, predominantly to intermediate and rostral-dorsal parts of the subdivision. Outside the NST, cells in the spinal trigeminal nucleus and parvicellular reticular formation were also labelled after PBN injections. Within the rostral central and rostral lateral (gustatory) subdivisions of the NST at least two types of neurons, distinguished on the basis of dendritic and cell body morphology, were labelled after HRP injections that included the medial PBN. Elongate cells have ovoid-fusiform somata and dendrites oriented in the mediolateral plane parallel to primary afferent axons entering from the solitary tract. Stellate cells have triangular or polygonal cell bodies and three to five dendrites oriented in all directions, although one or two often extend mediolaterally. These results indicate that cytoarchitectonic subdivisions of the NST are distinguished by their efferent ascending connections. For each subdivision within the rostral, gustatory NST there is a correlation between the density of lingual inputs it receives and the density of pontine-projection neurons it contains.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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