Efferent and collateral organization of paratrigeminal nucleus projections: an anterograde and retrograde fluorescent tracer study in the rat

J Comp Neurol. 1998 Dec 7;402(1):93-110.


The paratrigeminal nucleus (PTN) receives primary visceral afferent projections through cranial nerves IX and X and somatic afferent projections through cranial nerve V and dorsal roots as far caudally as C7. Pressure injections of the anterograde tracer tetramethylrhodamine dextran into the PTN in the rat resulted in bilateral labeling in the nucleus of the tractus solitarius, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve, and parabrachial nucleus. Anterograde labeling in the parabrachial nucleus was strongest in the external medial, external lateral, and ventral lateral subnuclei. Anterograde labeling was also found in the contralateral paratrigeminal nucleus, lamina I of the spinal trigeminal nucleus subnucleus caudalis, and ventroposteromedial nucleus of the thalamus. The collateral organization of PTN neurons was demonstrated by injecting different fluorescent retrograde tracers into the terminal fields of PTN projections as determined by the anterograde tracing experiments. Double-labeled neurons were found in the paratrigeminal nucleus following all combinations of injection sites. The most prominent PTN efferent projections and the most highly collateralized were to the nucleus of the tractus solitarius and parabrachial nucleus. The efferent and collateral connections of the paratrigeminal nucleus may provide a neuroanatomical substrate for integrating convergent visceral and somatic afferent information used to modulate autonomic function and behavior related to thermoregulation, nociception, and gustation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / cytology
  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescein
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Male
  • Motor Neurons
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons, Efferent
  • Pons / cytology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar / anatomy & histology*
  • Rhodamines
  • Solitary Nucleus / cytology*
  • Stilbamidines*
  • Thalamus / cytology*
  • Trigeminal Nucleus, Spinal / cytology*
  • Vagus Nerve / cytology


  • 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt
  • CM-DiI
  • Carbocyanines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rhodamines
  • Stilbamidines
  • Fluorescein