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J Comp Neurol. 1995 May 15;355(4):629-40.

Transneuronal labeling of neurons in the adult rat brainstem and spinal cord after injection of pseudorabies virus into the urethra.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Transneuronal tracing techniques were used to identify sites in the central nervous system involved in the neural control of urethral function. The distribution of virus-infected neurons was examined in the spinal cord and brainstem at various intervals (56-96 hours) following pseudorabies virus (PRV) injection into the urethra. In the lumbosacral (L6-S1) spinal cord at 56 hours, neurons containing PRV immunoreactivity (PRV-IR) were located in the region of the sacral parasympathetic nucleus (SPN), around the central canal, and in the dorsal commissure. Some animals also exhibited PRV-IR in cells in the L6 dorsolateral motor nucleus. At longer survival times (72-96 hours), PRV-IR cells were observed in the superficial and deeper laminae of the dorsal horn, and increased numbers of PRV-IR cells were consistently detected in the region of the SPN, around the central canal, and in the dorsal commissure. PRV-IR fiber-like staining also occurred along the lateral edge of the dorsal horn extending from Lissauer's tract to the region of the SPN. In rostral lumbar segments (L1-L2), PRV-IR cells were located in the region of the dorsal commissure and the intermediolateral cell nucleus (IML), around the central canal, and in the dorsal horn. After 72-84 hours, PRV-IR cells were also noted at more rostral levels of the neuraxis including the medulla, pons, midbrain, and diencephalon. At 72 hours, PRV-IR cells were consistently observed in Barrington's nucleus (pontine micturition center), nucleus raphe magnus (RMg), parapyramidal reticular formation, and the A5 and A7 regions. At 78-84 hours, additional regions exhibited PRV-IR cells, including the periaqueductal gray, locus coeruleus, the dorsal and ventral subcoeruleus alpha, and the red nucleus. A few cells were also located in the lateral hypothalamic area. This distribution of PRV-labeled cells in the spinal cord and brainstem is similar in many respects to the distribution of cells labeled in previous studies by PRV injection into the urinary bladder. This overlap of urethra and bladder neurons is consistent with the results of physiological experiments indicating a close coordination between the central nervous control of bladder and urethral activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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