Segmental Organization of Sympathetic Preganglionic Neurons in the Mammalian Spinal Cord

J Comp Neurol. 1980 Jul 1;192(1):163-74. doi: 10.1002/cne.901920111.


We have used retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase to determine the distribution of the preganglionic cell bodies whose axons join particular rami of the thoracic spinal cord in a series of guinea pigs, and in a small number of hamsters and cats. In contrast to other recent studies, our results show that the neurons sending axons to a ramus are confined to a single segment at the corresponding spinal level. This segmental organization supports the idea that the rostro-caudal position of preganglionic cell bodies is one determinant of selective synapse formation between preganglionic axons and sympathetic ganglion cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Fibers / anatomy & histology*
  • Animals
  • Autonomic Fibers, Preganglionic / anatomy & histology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cats
  • Cricetinae
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / anatomy & histology
  • Mice
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure