The location and morphology of preganglionic neurons and the distribution of visceral afferents from the rat pelvic nerve: a horseradish peroxidase study

J Comp Neurol. 1984 Jun 20;226(2):238-45. doi: 10.1002/cne.902260207.


Preganglionic neurons of the sacral parasympathetic nucleus (SPN) were located almost exclusively (98%) within the L6-S1 spinal cord segments. The SPN contained approximately 550 neurons of medium size (10 X 20 micron). These were mainly located in the intermediolateral gray matter and had dendrites that extended into the dorsolateral funiculus, along the lateral marginal zone of the dorsal horn, and medially into the dorsal gray commissure. Labeled dorsal root ganglion cells were almost all located (95%) in the L6 and S1 ganglia. An average of approximately 1,500 sensory neurons were found. These were small cells (17 X 25 micron) whose central processes entered Lissauer's tract from which two groups of collaterals emerged: 1) a prominent lateral pathway along the lateral margin of the dorsal horn that extended into the region of the SPN and also into the dorsal gray commissure, 2) a less prominent medial pathway extending around the dorsal margin of the dorsal horn to terminate in the dorsal gray commissure. These two collateral groups formed fiber bundles that were spaced by approximately 100 micron between centers when observed in the horizontal plane. A third afferent bundle, composed of rostrocaudally oriented fibers, was located in the sagittal plane immediately ventral to the central canal. Comparisons are made between the results in rats and the results of similar experiments performed in cats and monkeys.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Autonomic Fibers, Preganglionic / ultrastructure*
  • Colon / innervation*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Spinal / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation*