Microinjection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into the medullary parvocellular reticular formation (NPvc) resulted in retrograde labeling of neurons throughout the mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus (Mes V). Labeled cells were large and ovoid and were distributed primarily in the expanded pontine part of the nucleus. However, none of the small neurons in Mes V were labeled. Injections of HRP made into adjacent brainstem structures including the nucleus gigantocellularis, ventrolateral reticular formation, vestibular complex, and the spinal trigeminal nucleus failed to label neurons in Mes V. Injections made into the medullary raphe and into regions reported to receive inputs from Mes V–spinal cord, nucleus tractus solitarius, hypoglossal nucleus, and facial nucleus–were also not followed by transport to Mes V. Anterograde axonal transport of HRP from the region of reticular formation innervated by Mes V also labeled axons projecting to Mes V and to visceral and somatic sensorimotor nuclei in the lower brainstem. Recent reports of afferents from the amygdala to Mes V suggest that reflexes involving the mesencephlic trigeminal nucleus might be modulated by signals from limbic and autonomic as well as somatic centers in the brain.
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