Sensory sciatic nerve afferent inputs to the dorsal lateral medulla in the rat

Auton Neurosci. 2008 Jun;140(1-2):80-7. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 Jun 2.


Investigations show the paratrigeminal nucleus (Pa5) as an input site for sensory information from the sciatic nerve field. Functional or physical disruption of the Pa5 alters behavioral and somatosensory responses to nociceptive hindpaw stimulation or sciatic nerve electrostimulation (SNS), both contralateral to the affected structure. The nucleus, an input site for cranial and spinal nerves, known for orofacial nociceptive sensory processing, has efferent connections to structures associated with nociception and cardiorespiratory functions. This study aimed at determining the afferent sciatic pathway to dorsal lateral medulla by means of a neuronal tract-tracer (biocytin) injected in the iliac segment of the sciatic nerve. Spinal cord samples revealed bilateral labeling in the gracile and pyramidal or cuneate tracts from survival day 2 (lumbar L1/L2) to day 8 (cervical C2/C3 segments) following biocytin application. From day 10 to day 20 medulla samples showed labeling of the contralateral Pa5 to the injection site. The ipsilateral paratrigeminal nucleus showed labeling on day 10 only. The lateral reticular nucleus (LRt) showed fluorescent labeled terminal fibers on day 12 and 14, after tracer injection to contralateral sciatic nerve. Neurotracer injection into the LRt of sciatic nerve-biocytin-treated rats produced retrograde labeled neurons soma in the Pa5 in the vicinity of biocytin labeled nerve terminals. Therefore, Pa5 may be considered one of the first sites in the brain for sensory/nociceptive inputs from the sciatic nerve. Also, the findings include Pa5 and LRt in the neural pathway of the somatosympathetic pressor response to SNS and nocifensive responses to hindpaw stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology*
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / cytology*
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Nociceptors / cytology*
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sciatic Nerve / cytology*
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Trigeminal Nucleus, Spinal / cytology*
  • Trigeminal Nucleus, Spinal / physiology


  • biocytin
  • Lysine