Localization of masticatory motoneurons in the cat and rat by means of retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase

J Comp Neurol. 1975 Nov 1;164(1):105-15. doi: 10.1002/cne.901640109.


Topographical localization of monotoneurons supplying the masticatory muscles was investigated in the cat and rat, utilizing retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase. Following injection of horseradish peroxidase in each masticatory muscle, motoneurons labelled with peroxidase were seen to be aggregated into a cluster within the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. Such clusters of peroxidase-motoneurons innervating each masticatory muscle were demarcated more sharply in kittens than in adult animals. The pattern of the nuclear representation of the masticatory muscles was found to be essentially the same in the cat and rat; it could be summarized as follows: The motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve could be divided cytoarchitectonically into the dorsolateral and ventromedial divisions; the former was seen in almost the whole rostrocaudal extent of the nucleus, while the latter was localized at the levels of caudal two thirds of the nucleus. In the dorsolateral division, the temporal muscle was represented dorsally and dorsomedially, the masseter muscle ventrolaterally, and the pterygoid muscles ventromedially. In the ventromedial division, the anterior digastric muscle was represented dorsomedially, and the mylohyoid muscle ventrolaterally. It was also confirmed that the motoneurons supplying the posterior digastric muscle were localized in the accessory facial nucleus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Facial Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Masticatory Muscles / innervation*
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Pons / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Trigeminal Nerve / metabolism*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase