Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Comp Neurol. 1993 Apr 8;330(2):158-82.

Dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve: a cyto- and chemoarchitectonic study in the human.

Author information

  • 1School of Anatomy, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney, Australia.


In order to investigate the topography and subdivisions of the human dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve (10), studies were conducted using cyto- and chemoarchitectonic (acetylcholinesterase and substance P-like immunoreactivity) and computer reconstruction techniques. The six brainstems examined were obtained within 17 hours postmortem from adults with no known neurological disorders. Serial sections cut in transverse, sagittal, and coronal planes were stained with cresyl violet, or tested for acetylcholinesterase or substance P. The neurons of the 10 (16,826 +/- 967) displayed cyto- and chemoarchitectonic heterogeneity and could be classified into six types. Types I-V consist of presumed vagal motor neurons (13,802 +/- 844), while the remaining type (Type VI) consisted of presumed interneurons (3,024 +/- 769). The 10 was subdivided into nine subnuclei grouped regionally into rostral, intermediate, and caudal divisions on the basis of neuronal morphology, cell density, and differential AChE and substance P reactivities. The rostral division contains the dorsorostral (DoR) and the ventrorostral (VeR) subnuclei; the intermediate division contains the rostrointermediate (RoI), dorsointermediate (DoI), centrointermediate (CeI), ventrointermediate (VeI), and caudointermediate (CaI) subnuclei; the caudal division (Ca) is not subdivided. Morphologically, small round or oval cells populate the VeR and VeI. Medium-sized oval cells occur in the DoR, CeI, and Ca, while medium-sized fusiform and multipolar cells are the main features of CaI. Large triangular cells appear mainly in DoI. Glial cells show the highest predilection for CeI, lowest densities in DoI and medial fringe subnucleus (MeF), and intermediate densities in the remaining six subnuclei. VeI showed the strongest AChE reactivity. Although the cell bodies of VeR and DoI are AChE positive, the neuropil (background) is weakly stained. Densely distributed fine granular substance P-like immunoreactivity occurs throughout the entire nucleus, while the intermediate and caudal divisions contain substance P-like-immunoreactive neurons. Three-dimensional computer reconstructions afforded an appreciation of the distinctiveness of the intermediate division (a division that contains the majority of cells) and the caudal division, which displays the lowest density of presumed vagal motoneurons. It is possible that the subnuclei identified herein form functional units innervating specific organs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center