Effects of neonatal infraorbital lesions upon central trigeminal primary afferent projections in rat and hamster

Mark F. Jacquin, Robert W. Rhoades

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Transganglionic and anterograde horseradish peroxidase transport was used to evaluate the central projections of undamaged trigeminal (V) nerve branches in adult rats and hamsters subjected to transection of the infraorbital nerve and to cauterization of the vibrissae follicles at birth. In rats, deafferented regions of the V brainstem nuclear complex did not receive abnormal projections from undamaged mandibular sensory afferents. Undamaged ophthalmic‐maxillary fibers also failed to terminate heavily in the region deafferented by the neonatal infraorbital lesions. In the hamster, on the other hand, neonatal infraorbital nerve lesions were associated with statistically significant increases in mandibular terminal fields in the principalis, subnucleus interpolaris, and subnucleus caudalis. Tracing experiments were also carried out in neonatal rats and hamsters to determine whether the above‐described differences in the response to infraorbirtal nerve damage reflected a difference in the maturity of the V primary afferent projections to the brainstem at the time of our neonatal lesions. In neonatal rats, the infraorbital and mandibular projections to the V brainstem nuclear complex were quite adultlike, both in their pattern and in the extent of their overlap, which was minimal. Overlap between mandibular and infraorbital terminal fields was also minimal in the newborn hamsters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1985


  • development
  • infraorbital nerve
  • plasticity
  • sprouting
  • topography


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