Organization of HRP‐labeled trigeminal mandibular, primary afferent neurons in the rat

Mark F. Jacquin, Kazue Semba, M. David Egger, Robert W. Rhoades

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Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) applied to the transected mandibular division of the trigeminal (V) ganglion was transported anterogradely to pri‐mary afferent terminal zones in the dorsal and dorsomedial trigeminal brain‐stem nuclear complex (TBNC). Primary V afferents of ganglionic origin were also visible in the ipsilateral cerebellar cortex (crus I and II, paraflocculus) and the dentate, cuneate, solitary, supratrigeminal, and dorsal motor vagal nuclei, parvicellular reticular formation, area postrema and C1–C6 dorsal horn, laminae I–V. Contralateral subnucleus caudalis and C1–C2 dorsal horn were also innervated by primary afferents which crossed in the spinal gray to terminate medially, primarily in laminae I, II, and V. Almost all of these projections were also labeled in various combinations when HRP was applied to individual sensory branches of the mandibular nerve: lingual, infe‐rior alveolar, mylohyoid, and auriculotemporal. Transganglionic transport of HRP in the latter four cases revealed strong evidence for mtradivisional somatotopy among the four branches in both the ganglion and TBNC. Cell bodies innervating posterior and/or lateral portions of the head and face (i.e., auriculotemporal and mylohyoid) were found with greater frequency in dor‐sal mandibular ganglion regions, while somata supplying more rostral oral‐perioral regions (i.e., lingual and inferior alveolar) were predominant ventrally. Components of the mandibular projection to the TBNC were organized topographically in at least some portion of all of its three dimen‐sions. Subnuclear preferences were not clear‐cut; all four nerves innervated at least some portion of principalis, oralis, interpolaris, and caudalis, save for mylohyoid, which did not project to caudalis. Lingual fibers were most prominent in principalis and oralis, occupied medial portions of the mandib‐ular projection to the TBNC, and descended only to rostral caudalis, most notably laminae I‐III. Inferior alveolar afferents were ubiquitous in the mandibular component of the TBNC and C1–C2, save for its far lateral bor‐der. Mylohyoid terminals were sparse, most prominent in interpolaris, and occupied only dorsolateral TBNC regions and laminae III and IV of C1–C3. The auriculotemporal innervation of the mandibular TBNC was heaviest in interpolaris and was restricted to mostly ventrolateral regions. Its primary focus, however, was laminae III and IV of C1–C4. The clinical implications of this topographical organization are discussed, particularly with respect to the rostrocaudal intradivisional lamination in caudalis and the cervical dorsal horn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-420
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • anterograde transport
  • brainstem trigeminal complex
  • horseradish peroxidase
  • primary afferents
  • spinal cord
  • topography
  • trigeminal ganglion


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