The midbrain periaqueductal gray in the rat, cat, and monkey: a Nissl, Weil, and Golgi analysis

J Comp Neurol. 1982 Feb 1;204(4):349-63. doi: 10.1002/cne.902040406.


Anatomical staining methods including Nissl, Weil, Golgi, and horseradish peroxidase stain have been used to elucidate the cyto- and myeloarchitectural organization of the periaqueductal gray in monkey, cat, and rat. From these various staining methods it appears that the periaqueductal gray is composed of a tightly packed group of cells, which show a slight increase in soma size, dendritic diameter, and degree of myelinization from central to peripheral borders. This central gray region contains a wide variety of cell types including multipolar, fusiform, stellate, and pyramidal neurons. Clearly delineated subnuclei, distinguished on the basis of soma size, dendritic arborizations, pigmentation, or evidence of cytological individuality could not be discerned in this study. Together with the immunohistochemical and connectivity studies the present data suggest that the neuronal organization of the PAG could be described as a mosaic of clusters of functional related neurons rather than as three distinct subnuclei, each with its own unique cytoarchitecture and connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Aqueduct / anatomy & histology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mesencephalon / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Saimiri
  • Species Specificity
  • Staining and Labeling