Morphology of single mesencephalic trigeminal neurons innervating masseter muscle of the cat

Brain Res. 1988 Apr 5;445(2):392-9. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(88)91206-1.


The morphology of functionally identified single axons of mesencephalic trigeminal neurons was studied in the cat by the method of intra-axonal injection of horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Each axon can be divided into united (U), peripheral (P) and central branches (C). The united axon (U) descends from its soma within the tract of the trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus to the dorsal aspect of the trigeminal motor nucleus (Vmo), where it splits into peripheral and descending central branches with a Y-shaped bifurcation. The peripheral axon (P) joins the motor root of the trigeminal nerve to exit the brainstem. The central axon (C) travels caudally within the juxtatrigeminal regions (or lateral reticular formation). All 3 branches issue axon collaterals that distribute terminal boutons within the dorsolateral subdivision of Vmo, supra- and intertrigeminal regions. Collaterals emanating from the central axon (C) except for its proximal segment travel ventrolaterally within the juxtatrigeminal regions, and send their terminal branches into the lateral boundaries adjacent to the spinal trigeminal nucleus. The trajectory of terminal branches distinguishes group Ia afferents from the possible group II afferents. The majority of terminal boutons are found to distribute in the supra- and intertrigeminal regions for group II afferent fibers and in the dorsolateral subdivision of Vmo for group Ia afferents.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cats
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Masseter Muscle / innervation*
  • Masticatory Muscles / innervation*
  • Mesencephalon / anatomy & histology*
  • Mesencephalon / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology


  • Horseradish Peroxidase