Indirect single- and double-staining immunofluorescence techniques were used to study the serotoninergic, peptidergic and GABAergic innervation of the ventrolateral (Onuf's nucleus) and dorsolateral (innervating intrinsic foot sole muscles) nuclei, located in the S1/S2 segments of the cat spinal cord. The relative density of 5-hydroxytryptamine-, thyrotropin-releasing hormone-, substance P- and γ-aminobuytric acid-immunoreactive axonal varicosities was similar in both nuclei. The highest relative density was recorded for varicosities immunoreactive to γ-aminobutyric acid, while those immunoreactive to 5-hydroxytryptamine or thyrotropin-releasing hormone yielded the lowest values. The density of enkephalin-immunoreactive varicosities was higher in the ventrolateral than in the dorsolateral nucleus. Calcitonin gene-related peptide-like immunoreactivity could be seen in neurons of the ventrolateral and dorsolateral nuclei. Occasionally, calcitonin gene-related peptide-immunoreactive axonal fibers were also encountered in these nuclei. Virtually all thyrotropin-releasing hormone-immunoreactive varicosities in the ventrolateral and dorsolateral nuclei also contained 5-hydroxytryptamine-like immunoreactivity, while a somewhat smaller number of them were co-localized with substance P. About 5–10% of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-immunoreactive varicosities were devoid of peptide-like immunoreactivity, and the number of 5-hydroxytryptamine-immunoreactive varicosities lacking thyrotropin-releasing hormone-like immunoreactivity was higher in the dorsolateral than in the ventrolateral nucleus. Finally, the free fraction of substance P-immunoreactive varicosities, i.e., those lacking both 5-hydroxytryptamine and thyrotropin-releasing hormone, was about 39% in the ventrolateral and 26% in the dorsolateral nucleus. Spinal cord transection at the lower thoracic level induced a depletion of 5-hydroxytryptamine and thyrotropin-releasing hormone-immunoreactive fibers from the ventrolateral and dorsolateral nuclei, indicating an exclusive supraspinal origin for these fibers. A reduction in substance P-like immunoreactivity following spinal cord transection alone or spinal cord transection combined with unilateral dorsal rhizotomy was also detected in both nuclei, suggesting a dual origin for substance P-immunoreactive fibers, i.e., both supra- and intraspinal. The decrease in number of substance P-immunoreactive fibers was however smaller than expected from the analysis of the fraction of substance P-immunoreactive fibers co-localized with 5-hydroxytryptamine, indicating thus that the experimental lesions may have triggered a sprouting of substance P-immunoreactive axons originating from spinal cord sources. The distribution of γ-aminobutyric acid in the ventrolateral and dorsolateral nuclei was not affected by the different lesion paradigms. It is therefore assumed that these inputs are intrinsic to the spinal cord. Finally, both in the ventrolateral and the dorsolateral nucleus a small but statistically significant increase of axonal fibers immunoreactive to enkephalin was seen in response to the experimental lesions.

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Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Department of Internal Medicine

Ramírez-León, V., Ulfhake, B., Arvidsson, U., Verhofstad, A., Visser, T., & Hökfelt, T. (1994). Serotoninergic, peptidergic and GABAergic innervation of the ventrolateral and dorsolateral motor nuclei in the cat S1/S2 segments: An immunofluorescence study. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 7(1-2), 87–103. doi:10.1016/0891-0618(94)90010-8