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J Comp Neurol. 1984 Sep 10;228(2):168-85.

Rostral ventrolateral medulla: selective projections to the thoracic autonomic cell column from the region containing C1 adrenaline neurons.


Anterograde, retrograde, and combined axonal transport methods were used to describe the descending efferent projections of a region of rostral ventrolateral medullary reticular formation important in cardiovascular control. We have termed this region, which contains C1 adrenaline-synthesizing neurons, the nucleus reticularis rostroventrolateralis (RVL). Efferent projections from the RVL innervate all segmental levels of the thoracic intermediolateral and intermediomedial columns as shown using retrograde transport of lectin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase (HRP) or fast blue dye, and anterograde transport of either HRP or labeled amino acids. The projection is highly specific in that there are no projections to thoracic dorsal or ventral horns. This innervation corresponds to the distribution of preganglionic sympathetic neurons in the intermediolateral column. In particular, terminals surround neurons projecting to the adrenal medulla, as demonstrated by combined anterograde and retrograde transport methods at the light level. Terminals containing phenylethanolamine-N-methyl transferase (PNMT) were mapped using immunocytochemical techniques. PNMT-labeled terminals were present at all levels of thoracic intermediolateral column, in a distribution similar to that of the descending projections from the RVL. We have previously shown using double label techniques (Ross et al., '81-'83), that many of the spinal projections of the RVL originate from C1 neurons. These data support our suggestion that certain bulbospinal neurons within the RVL, in particular the C1 neurons, are crucial for tonic vasomotor control.

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