In the present study it was determined whether glycine was present in the descending brainstem projections to spinal motoneurons in the rat. For this purpose injections of wheatgerm agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) were made in the ventromedial part of the lower brainstem at the levels of the rostral inferior olive and the caudal facial nucleus. After perfusion, WGA-HRP histochemistry was performed, followed by the postembedding immunogold tehncque with an antbody against glycine. Electron microscopical examination of the lumbar motoneuronal cell groups showed that 15% of the WGA-HRP labeled terminals, derived from the ventromedial reticular formation, were also labeled for glycine. The majority (91%) of these double labeled terminal were of the F-type (containing many flattened vesicles), while the remaining 9% were of the S-type (containing mostly sphetical vesicles). Many of the double labeled terminals established a synapse, mostly with proximal and distal dendrites. The present data, combined with our previous findings that 40% of the projections from the same ventromedial brainstem area to lumbar motoneurons contained γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), indicate that over 50% of these brainstem projections contain GABA and/or glycine, exerting a direct inhibition effect on spinal motoneurons. The possibility that the glycinergic fibers within these projections play an important role in producing muscle atonia during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is discussed.

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doi.org/10.1016/0006-8993(91)91715-D, hdl.handle.net/1765/71377
Brain Research
Department of Neuroscience

Holstege, J.C, & Bongers, C.M.H. (1991). A glycinergic projection from the ventromedial lower brainstem to spinal motoneurons. An ultrastructural double labeling study in rat. Brain Research, 566(1-2), 308–315. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(91)91715-D