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Brain Struct Funct. 2014 Jan;219(1):211-29. doi: 10.1007/s00429-012-0495-1. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Differential expression of VGLUT1 or VGLUT2 in the trigeminothalamic or trigeminocerebellar projection neurons in the rat.

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Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology and K.K. Leung Brain Research Centre, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710032, People's Republic of China.


The vesicular glutamate transporters, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, reportedly display complementary distribution in the rat brain. However, co-expression of them in single neurons has been reported in some brain areas. We previously found co-expression of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 mRNAs in a number of single neurons in the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus (Vp) of the adult rat; the majority of these neurons sent their axons to the thalamic regions around the posteromedial ventral nucleus (VPM) and the posterior nuclei (Po). It is well known that trigeminothalamic (T-T) projection fibers arise not only from the Vp but also from the spinal trigeminal nucleus (Vsp), and that trigeminocerebellar (T-C) projection fibers take their origins from both of the Vp and Vsp. Thus, in the present study, we examined the expression of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in Vp and Vsp neurons that sent their axons to the VPM/Po regions or the cortical regions of the cerebellum. For this purpose, we combined fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) histochemistry with retrograde tract-tracing; immunofluorescence histochemistry was also combined with anterograde tract-tracing. The results indicate that glutamatergic Vsp neurons sending their axons to the cerebellar cortical regions mainly express VGLUT1, whereas glutamatergic Vsp neurons sending their axons to the thalamic regions express VGLUT2. The present data, in combination with those of our previous study, indicate that glutamatergic Vp neurons projecting to the cerebellar cortical regions express mainly VGLUT1, whereas the majority of glutamatergic Vp neurons projecting to the thalamus co-express VGLUT1 and VGLUT2.

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