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Brain Res Bull. 1982 Jul-Dec;9(1-6):287-94.

Locus coeruleus projections to cortex: topography, morphology and collateralization.


The relationship between individual cells of origin within the nucleus locus coeruleus (LC) and the geometry and distribution of terminal fields in cortex was examined in the albino rat. Computer-assisted 3-dimensional reconstructions of the Nissl-stained LC allowed the characterization of the spatial distribution of LC cells. Similar reconstructions of the distributions of labelled cells following cortical injections of horseradish peroxidase were created. Comparisons of such reconstructions revealed that LC cells projecting to cortex were distributed throughout the compact dorsal LC. These cells were predominantly medium sized multipolar cells. Significant labelling of other morphological sub-populations of LC did not occur following cortical injections. Simultaneous injections of multiple fluorescent retrograde tracers into different cortical regions allowed the characterization of LC axon collateralization in cortex. Individual LC cells innervate functionally and cytoarchitectonically distinct cortical regions simultaneously. LC cells arborize more extensively in the anterior-to-posterior axis of cortex and exhibit relatively minimal medial-to-lateral collateralization. Individual LC cells were also shown to innervate both superficial and deep layers of a cortical region.

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