Distribution of muscarinic cholinergic receptors in the dorsal vagal complex and other selected nuclei in the human medulla

Thomas M. Hyde, Michael Gibbs, Stephen J. Peroutka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Muscarinic cholinergic receptors were localized in human brainstem by quantitative autoradiography, using the radioligand [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate. Receptor densities were highest in the hypoglossal nucleus. The second highest density was found in the medial region of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). Moderately high numbers of receptors were present in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, the dorsal NTS, subpostremal NTS, lateral NTS and ventral NTS. Intermediate densities were present in the dorsal and medial accesssory nuclei of the inferior olive and the spinal trigeminal nucleus pars interpolaris. Low densities were found in the area postrema, principle nucleus of the inferior olive, gracile nucleus, cuneate nucleus and the tractus of the NTS. Muscarinic cholinergic receptors in the dorsal vagal complex are an important component of the neural substrate governing visceral function. These receptors may be the central site of action of anticholinergic medications in suppressing emesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 3 1988
Externally publishedYes



  • Area postrema
  • Cholinergic receptor
  • Emesis
  • Human brainstem
  • Solitary nucleus
  • Vagal complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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