Direct projection from the lateral habenula to the trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus in rats

Brain Research
Haruka OharaAtsushi Yoshida


Trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus (Vmes) neurons are primary afferents conveying deep sensation from the masticatory muscle spindles or the periodontal mechanoreceptors, and are crucial for controlling jaw movements. Their cell bodies exist in the brain and receive descending commands from a variety of cortical and subcortical structures involved in limbic (emotional) systems. However, it remains unclear how the lateral habenula (LHb), a center of negative emotions (e.g., pain, stress and anxiety), can influence the control of jaw movements. To address this issue, we examined whether and how the LHb directly projects to the Vmes by means of neuronal tract tracing techniques in rats. After injections of a retrograde tracer Fluorogold in the rostral and caudal Vmes, a number of neurons were labeled in the lateral division of LHb (LHbl) bilaterally, whereas a few neurons were labeled in the medial division of LHb (LHbm) bilaterally. After injections of an anterograde tracer, biotinylated dextranamine (BDA) in the LHbl, a small number of labeled axons were distributed bilaterally in the rostral and caudal levels of Vmes, where some labeled axonal boutons contacted the cell body of rostral and caudal levels of Vmes neurons bilaterall...Continue Reading


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