Golgi studies of the neurons in layer II of the dorsal horn of the medulla (trigeminal nucleus caudalis)

J Comp Neurol. 1978 Jul 15;180(2):395-413. doi: 10.1002/cne.901800213.


The translucent band which lies just beneath the spinal V tract at the lower end of the spinal trigeminal nucleus (nucleus caudalis) can be divided into three layers. These three layers are distinguished by textural differences in their neuropil and by the morphology and laminar distribution of the axons and dendrites of their neurons. Layer II contains four different kinds of interneurons. Stalked cells are named after their short, stalk-like branches. Their cell bodies are found in greatest numbers in the outer half of layer II. Their coneshaped dendritic arbors extend medially across layers II and III and sometimes extend into layer IV. Their axons form extensive, canopy-like arborizations in layer I. Stalked cells are considered to be excitatory interneurons receiving input on their dendritic spines from primary axonal endings in the layers II and III glomeruli and transferring it to the dendrites of the layer I projection neurons. Layer II contains three kinds of Golgi type II inteneurons, i.e, neurons whose axons branch repeatedly within the confimes of their dendritic arbors. Islet cells similar to those found in layer III (Gobel), '75a), are found in small clusters in layer II. Their dendrites and axons are largely confined in layer II. The dendrites of the arboreal cell burst, in tree-like fashion, into highly focal dendritic arbors confined largely in layer II while the extensive rostral and caudal dendritic arbors of the II-III border cell lie largely in layers II and III with a few branches extending into layer I. The axons of both of these interneurons arborize in layers II and III with a few collaterals extending into layer I. Islet cells, arboreal cells and II-III border cells are considered to be inhibitory interneurons. They are strategically situated to interrupt transmission between primary axonal endings in layers II and III and the layer I projection neurons by altering the output of the stalked cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Medulla Oblongata / cytology*
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Synapses
  • Trigeminal Nerve / cytology*