Anatomy of the adrenergic system in the medulla oblongata of the tree shrew: PNMT immunoreactive structures within the nucleus tractus solitarii

J Comp Neurol. 1988 Aug 8;274(2):178-89. doi: 10.1002/cne.902740205.


The adrenergic system in the medulla oblongata of tree shrews was investigated by immunocytochemistry with an antibody against phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase. Two groups of adrenergic cells, which are equivalent to those of other species, were detected: Group C1 in the ventrolateral medulla and group C2 in the dorsomedial medulla. Adrenergic cells in C1 are located around the lateral reticular nucleus or between its subdivisions. They are mostly multipolar with branched processes. In group C2, some immunoreactive cell bodies smaller than those in C1 and many nerve terminals are found in the motor nucleus of the vagus, but most of the adrenergic cells and fibers are observed in the nucleus tractus solitarii. The cytoarchitecture of this nucleus resembles that described before for the rhesus monkey. In contrast to the rat, the subnucleus gelatinosus, which according to other authors receives cardiac and gastric afferents, is a prominent structure in immunocytochemically as well as conventionally stained sections. Adrenergic cell bodies and their fibers form a ring around this nucleus, but no immunoreactive structures are found within it. In the dorsomedial part of the nucleus tractus solitarii, adrenergic neurons are accumulated. They are often located in close proximity to blood vessels. Elongated immunoreactive neurons in the medial subdivision of the nucleus also seem to project in the direction of the dorsal area. Our data give new information about the adrenergic system in the medulla oblongata, especially in the nucleus tractus solitarii of the tree shrew, a species that provides a useful model of a small primate brain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology*
  • Medulla Oblongata / enzymology
  • Phenylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase / immunology
  • Phenylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*


  • Phenylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase