Somatic and visceral nociceptive inputs from the orofacial area and the upper alimentary tract converge onto CB-containing neurons in interstitial nucleus of the spinal trigeminal tract in rats

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Journal Title:
ACTA PHYSIOLOGICA SINICA
Issue:
Volume 56, Issue 05, 2004
DOI:
Key Word:
interstitial nucleus of the spinal trigeminal tract (INV);laser scanning confocal microscope;electron microscope;converge;nociceptive inputs;calbindin D-28K (CB);Fos protein

Abstract: The interstitial nucleus of the spinal trigeminal tract (INV) contains many calbindin-D28k-containing neurons (CB-neurons) receiving convergence information from the somatic and visceral structures. The purpose of the present study was to confirm whether the primary afferent terminals from the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) make close contact and synaptic connections with the same CB-neurons receiving visceral nociceptive signals in INV. Biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) and horseradish peroxidase (H) tracing combined with CB and Fos proteins immunohistochimistry were used. After injections of BDA and formalin into unilateral IAN and upper alimentary tract,respectively, the transganglionic labeled afferent fibers and terminals from IAN were observed in the ipsilateral INV, especially in its enlarged part. A large number of CB- and Fos-like immunoreactive (LI) neurons were found in bilateral INV. These CB- and Fos-LI neurons mostly overlapped with BDA-labeled terminals in the enlarged part of INV. About one half of the CB-LI neurons were double labeled with Fos-LI nuclei (74/153). The terminals from IAN were to made close contacts with many CB/Fos-double labeled or CB-single labeled neurons. After injection of HRP into IAN, HRP-labeled fibers and terminals in INV were similar to that labeled with BDA. Under the electron microscope,a large number of CB-LI dendrites and a few soma in the enlarged part of INV were found to form asymmetrical axo-dendritic and axo-somal synapses with the HRP-labeled axon terminals. These results indicate that the orofacial somatic inputs from IAN and the visceral nociceptive inputs from the upper alimentary tract converge onto the same CB-containing neurons in INV. These CB-containing neurons in INV probably play an important role in information integration as well as visceral and cardiovascular activity.

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