An HRP study of the central course of sensory intermediate and vagal fibers in peripheral facial nerve branches in the cat

J Comp Neurol. 1984 Feb 10;223(1):35-45. doi: 10.1002/cne.902230104.


Previous studies have shown that sensory fibers of intermediate and vagal nerve origin are present in facial nerve branches to the mimetic muscles in the cat. In the present study the central course of these fibers has been examined by transganglionic transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP). In some of these experiments the facial nerve proper was transected central to the site of HRP application. In this way, the central course of the vagal fibers could be studied separately. For comparison HRP-conjugated wheat germ agglutinin was injected into the geniculate ganglion, revealing the central course of the entire afferent component of the intermediate nerve. The results show that labeled sensory intermediate nerve fibers, at their level of entrance in the brainstem, form a tract at the dorsal margin of the spinal trigeminal tract (5T). While some fibers ascend from this level to terminate in the main sensory trigeminal nucleus, and a few fibers terminate in the rostral part of the solitary tract nucleus, the majority take a descending course. The main site of termination for these descending fibers is in the medial part of the C2 dorsal horn. Terminal labeling is also seen in the ventrolateral part of the cuneate nucleus (CUN) and in a small area of gray substance between CUN and trigeminal nucleus caudalis. After entering the brainstem some sensory vagal fibers project to the trigeminal nucleus interpolaris and to an interstitial nucleus within the 5T, but the larger part joins the descending tract of intermediate nerve fibers. These descending vagal fibers have a terminal distribution pattern similar to the intermediate nerve fibers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Cats
  • Facial Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Ganglion / anatomy & histology
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Vagus Nerve / anatomy & histology*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase