Efferents from the lateral frontal cortex to spinomedullary target areas, trigeminal nuclei, and spinally projecting brainstem regions in the hedgehog tenrec

J Comp Neurol. 1996 Aug 12;372(1):88-110. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9861(19960812)372:1<88::AID-CNE7>3.0.CO;2-I.


This study was done in the Madagascan lesser hedgehog tenrec, an insectivore with a very poorly differentiated neocortex. The cortical region, known to give rise to spinal projections, was injected with tracer, and the cortical efferents to brainstem and spinal cord were analyzed. Bulbar reticular fields, in addition, were identified according to their cells of origin and the laterality of their spinal projections after injection of tracer. Only few cortical fibers could be traced from the bulbar pyramid into the ipsilateral spinal cord, particularly to the lateral funiculus. The projections to the dorsal column nuclei and the classical spinally projecting brainstem regions were also weak. Faint projections were demonstrated to the nucleus of the posterior commissure and the nucleus of Darkschewitsch. In comparison to other mammals, there was no evidence that the contralateral cortico-bulbo-spinal pathway was strengthened, substituting for the almost non-existent contralateral corticospinal projection. Unlike the sensorimotor apparatus controlling limb and body movements, the brainstem regions controlling the head and neck received prominent cortical projections. Direct corticotrigeminal projections and indirect pathways were well represented. The projections to the trigeminal nuclei and the lateral reticular fields were clearly bilateral; those to the superior colliculus were predominantly ipsilateral. The corticobulbar fibers left the pyramid along its entire extent; the principal trigeminal nucleus and the dorsolateral pontine tegmentum were supplied by additional fibers of the corticotegmental tract. The lateral frontal cortex also projected densely to the dorsolateral hypothalamus, the periaqueductal gray, and the adjacent mesencephalic tegmentum, components of the emotional motor system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Brain Stem / physiology*
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Hedgehogs / physiology*
  • Microinjections
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Rhombencephalon / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / physiology
  • Trigeminal Nuclei / physiology*