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J Neurosci. 1997 May 15;17(10):3826-39.

Distribution of fos-like immunoreactivity in the medullary reticular formation of the rat after gustatory elicited ingestion and rejection behaviors.

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Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA.


The distribution of neurons in the medullary reticular formation (RF) activated by the ingestion of sucrose or rejection of quinine was examined using standard immunohistochemical techniques to detect the expression of the Fos protein product of the immediate-early gene c-fos. Double-labeling techniques were used to gain further insight into the possible functional significance of RF neurons exhibiting Fos-like immunoreactivity (FLI). Compared with sucrose and unstimulated controls, quinine elicited significantly more FLI neurons in three specific RF subdivisions: parvocellular reticular nucleus (PCRt), intermediate reticular nucleus (IRt), and dorsal medullary reticular nucleus (MdD). Moreover, the number of FLI neurons in the RF of quinine-stimulated animals was significantly correlated with the degree of oromotor activity. Thus, the distinct distribution of FLI neurons throughout the RF after quinine may reflect the activation of a specific oral rejection circuit. The double-labeling results indicated a high degree of segregation between FLI neurons and premotor projection neurons to the hypoglossal nucleus (mXII) retrogradely labeled with Fluorogold. Thus, although there were a significant number of double-labeled neurons in the RF, the major concentration of premotor projection neurons to mXII in IRt were medial to the preponderance of FLI neurons in the PCRt. In contrast, there was substantial overlap between FLI neurons in the RF and labeled fibers after injections of the anterograde tracer, biotinylated dextran into the rostral (gustatory) portion of the nucleus of the solitary tract. These results support a medial (premotor)/lateral (sensory) functional topography of the medullary RF.

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