Brainstem afferents to the rostral (juxtafacial) nucleus paragigantocellularis: integration of exteroceptive and interoceptive sensory inputs in the ventral tegmentum

E. J. Van Bockstaele, H. Akaoka, G. Aston-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

The rostral pole of the nucleus paragigantocellularis (PGi), termed juxtafacial PGi, lies medially adjacent to the facial nucleus and lateral to the pyramidal tract and the nucleus gigantocellularis pars alpha in the caudal ventral pons. This narrow region of the ventral pontine reticular formation is an afferent to the nucleus locus coeruleus, and contains neurons which have been implicated in pain processing, cardiovascular regulation, respiratory control and arousal. Here, we studied brainstem afferents to the juxtafacial PGi using retrograde transport of wheat germ agglutinin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) or of a colloidal gold-protein complex. Anterograde transport of WGA-HRP, or of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L), was used to confirm and further detail innervation patterns in the juxtafacial PGi. Results revealed that the juxtafacial PGi receives inputs from a variety of nuclei involved in somatosensory, auditory and autonomic function. Retrograde labeling was prominent in the dorsal column nuclei, the inferior colliculus and the paralemniscal zone of the midbrain, as previously reported in other species. We also found afferents to the juxtafacial PGi that were not previously described, including the paramedian reticular formation and the paraolivary reticular formation. Afferents were also identified from the retrofacial PGi, the caudal medullary reticular formation and thev periaqueductal gray, structures implicated in autonomic and pain regulation. These results indicate that inputs to this subregion of the PGi is distinct from that to the more caudal parts of the PGi, and support the view that the juxtafacial PGi may function in the integration and coordination of polymodal (somatic and visceral) sensory events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalBrain research
Volume603
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 12 1993
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular regulation
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Pain
  • Parapyramidal region
  • Retrograde transport
  • Rostral ventral medulla

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