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J Neurophysiol. 1985 Jul;54(1):73-89.

T2-T5 spinothalamic neurons projecting to medial thalamus with viscerosomatic input.


Spinothalamic tract neurons projecting to medial thalamus (M-STT cells), ventral posterior lateral nucleus (VPL) of the thalamus (L-STT cells), or both thalamic regions (LM-STT cells) were studied in 19 monkeys anesthetized with alpha-chloralose. Twenty-seven M-STT cells were antidromically activated from nucleus centralis lateralis, nucleus centrum medianum, or the medial dorsal nucleus. Stimulation of VPL elicited antidromic responses from 22 cells and 13 cells were activated from both VPL and medial thalamus. Antidromic conduction velocities of M-STT cells were significantly slower than those of L-STT or LM-STT cells. M-STT cells were located in laminae I, IV, V, and VII with greater numbers found in the deepest laminae. L-STT cells were located mostly in lamina IV, whereas most LM-STT cells were found in lamina V. Twenty-four of 27 M-STT cells, all L-STT cells, and all LM-STT cells received input from both cardiopulmonary sympathetic and somatic afferent fibers. WDR cells were most common among the L-STT and LM-STT groups, whereas HT cells were the most common class in the M-STT cell group. Excitatory receptive fields of M-STT cells were large, and often bilateral. Receptive fields of L-STT cells were simple and never bilateral. Receptive fields of LM-STT cells could be similar to M-STT or L-STT cells. Thirty-three percent of the M-STT cells, 37% of the L-STT cells, and 62% of the LM-STT cells had inhibitory receptive fields. Inhibition was elicited most often by a noxious pinch of the hindlimbs. Sixteen of 23 (70%) M-STT cells received C-fiber cardiopulmonary sympathetic input in addition to A-delta-fiber input. The other 7 cells received only A-delta-fiber input. Only 45% of the L-STT cells and 38% of the LM-STT cells received both A-delta- and C-fiber inputs. The maximum number of spikes elicited by A-delta-input was related to segmental locations for L-STT cells with greatest responses in T2 and lesser responses in more caudal segments; however, no such trend was apparent for M-STT cells or for responses to C-fiber input for either group. Electrical stimulation of the left thoracic vagus nerve inhibited 7 of 18 M-STT cells, 10 of 16 L-STT cells, and 6 of 12 LM-STT cells. These results are the first description of visceral input to cells projecting to medial thalamus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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