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Neuronal Circuitry And Synaptic Organization Of Trigeminal Proprioceptive Afferents Mediating Tongue Movement And Jaw–tongue Coordination Via Hypoglossal Premotor Neurons

P. Luo, J. Zhang, R. Yang, W. Pendlebury
Published 2006 · Medicine, Biology

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The neural framework and synaptic organization of trigeminal proprioceptive afferent‐mediated jaw–tongue coordination were studied in rats using multiple electrophysiological and neuroanatomical approaches. Electrostimulation of the masseter nerve evoked short‐latency responses (5.86 ± 2.59 ms) in hypoglossal premotor pools including the parvocellular (PCRt) and intermediate (IRt) reticular nuclei and the dorsomedial part of the spinal trigeminal nucleus oralis (Vodm) and interpolaris (Vidm). Biocytin‐labelled axon terminals from these areas traveled into the hypoglossal nucleus (XII) and contacted motoneurons. Double labelling of biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) tracing and cholera toxin B (CTB) transport demonstrated that labelled axons and terminals from the mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus (Vme) overlapped with XII premotor neurons in the alpha division and in PCRt, IRt, Vodm and Vidm. Confocal microscopic observations revealed that Vme terminals closely contacted XII premotor neurons. Dual labelling of intracellular neurobiotin staining of jaw‐muscle spindle afferents (JMSAs) combined with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) retrograde transport revealed that 498 JMSA boutons apposed to 146 HRP‐labelled premotor neurons. Electron microscopic observations demonstrated that 127 JMSA boutons made both axodendritic (68%) and axosomatic (32%) synapses with XII premotor neurons. Eighty‐three per cent of synapses were asymmetric and the rest (17%) were symmetric. Thirty‐nine per cent of JMSA boutons received presynaptic contacts from P‐type terminals. Varieties of synaptic organizations were found. These results provide evidence that trigeminal proprioceptive afferents mediate jaw–tongue coordination through XII premotor neurons. Ultrastructural findings demonstrated that synapses between JMSA boutons and XII premotor neurons are predominantly excitatory, and synaptic transmission to XII motoneurons is modified on XII premotor neurons by presynaptic mechanisms. These frameworks and synaptic organizations are most probably the neural substrate for trigeminal proprioceptive afferent‐mediated jaw–tongue coordination.
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