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Neuroscience. 1985 Feb;14(2):627-43.

Morphology of motoneurons in a mixed motor pool of the cat facial nucleus that innervate orbicularis oculis and quadratus labii superioris, stained intracellularly with horseradish peroxidase.


Retrograde tracing with horseradish peroxidase showed that motoneurons to two distinct muscles, the orbicularis oculis and quadratus labii superioris, are intermixed within the dorsolateral subnucleus of the cat facial nucleus. Intracellular electrodes were used to identify and fill the motoneurons of the dorsolateral subnucleus with horseradish peroxidase. Soma diameters averaged 55 micron. The average number of primary dendrites was 11.6. The area covered by the dendritic trees varied in shape according to the position of the soma within the subnucleus. Axon hillocks were seen arising in many orientations, bearing no apparent relation to subsequent axonal path, cell position within the nucleus or somatic geometry. Motoneurons to the two muscles appeared to be indistinguishable on the basis of morphology, even though they appear to be functionally independent. Their functional differences are not reflected in any measure of somadendritic shape studied here. Of further interest is the variability in shape associated with the neurons's position within the subnucleus. We conclude that many details of dendritic shape do not reflect specific physiological function.

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