Spinohypothalamic tract neurons in the cervical enlargement of rats: Locations of antidromically identified ascending axon and their collateral branches in the contralateral brain

Ewa Kostarczyk, Xijing Zhang, Glenn J. Giesler

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Antidromic activation was used to determine the locations of ascending spinohypothalamic tract (SHT) axons and their collateral projections within C1, medulla, pons, midbrain, and caudal thalamus. Sixty-four neurons in the cervical enlargement were antidromically activated initially by stimulation within the contralateral hypothalamus. All but one of the examined SHT neurons responded either preferentially or specifically to noxious mechanical stimuli. A total of 239 low-threshold points was classified as originating from 64 ascending (or parent) SHT axons. Within C1, 38 ascending SHT axons were antidromically activated. These were located primarily in the dorsal half of the lateral funiculus. Within the medulla, the 29 examined ascending SHT axons were located ventrolaterally, within or adjacent to the lateral reticular nucleus and the superior olivary complex. Within the caudal midbrain, the 23 examined SHT ascending axons coursed dorsally in a position adjacent to the lateral lemniscus. Within the anterior midbrain, SHT axons traveled rostrally near the brachium of the inferior colliculus. Within the posterior thalamus, all 17 examined SHT axons coursed rostrally through the posterior nucleus of thalamus. A total of 114 low-threshold points was classified as collateral branch points. Sixteen collateral branches were seen in C1; these were located primarily in the deep dorsal horn. Forty-five collateral branches were located in the medulla. These were primarily in or near the medullary reticular nucleus, nucleus ambiguus, lateral reticular nucleus, parvocellular reticular nucleus, gigantocellular reticular nucleus, cuneate nucleus, and the nucleus of the solitary tract. Twenty-six collateral branches from SHT axons were located in the pons. These were in the pontine reticular nucleus caudalis, gigantocellular reticular nucleus, parvocellular reticular nucleus, and superior olivary complex. Twenty-three collateral branches were located in the mid-brain. These were in or near the mesencephalic reticular nucleus, brachium of the inferior colliculus, cuneiform nucleus, superior colliculus, central gray, and substantia nigra. In the caudal thalamus, two branches were in the posterior thalamic nucleus and two were in the medial geniculate. These results indicate that SHT axons ascend toward the hypothalamus in a clearly circumscribed projection in the lateral brain stem and posterior thalamus. In addition, large numbers of collaterals from SHT axons appear to project to a variety of targets in C1, the medulla, pons, midbrain, and caudal thalamus. Through its widespread collateral projections, the SHT appears to be capable of providing nociceptive input to many areas that are involved in the production of multifaceted responses to noxious stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-451
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Volume77
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

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