Organization of motor pools supplying the cervical musculature in a cryptodyran turtle, Pseudemys scripta elegans. II. Medial motor nucleus and muscles supplied by two motor nuclei

The Journal of Comparative Neurology
M B Yeow, E H Peterson


In this paper we describe the medial motor nucleus of Pseudemys cervical spinal cord and the motor pools of three neck muscles that exhibit an unusual pattern of innervation. Cells of the medial motor nucleus form a longitudinal column at the dorsomedial gray/white border of the ventral horn from C1 through C8. In Nissl-stained transverse sections they appear fusiform with prominent medially projecting dendrites; in HRP material these dendrites are seen to cross into the contralateral ventral funiculus. Medial nuclear cells vary in size (12-31 micron in diameter) and are often relatively large (greater than 21 micron in diameter). They are significantly larger and more numerous in caudal than in rostral cervical segments. Medial nuclear cells supply three of the cervical muscles examined in this study: mm. retrahens capitis collique (RCCQ), testocervicis, and longus colli. These three muscles differ from other cervical muscles in Pseudemys and from vertebrate limb muscles in that they are supplied in parallel by two populations of motor neurons: the medial and ventral motor nuclei (cf. Yeow and Peterson, '86). Ventral nuclear cells supplying these three muscles are organized into a musculotopic pattern with m. testocervicis mot...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Motor Neurons
Skeletal Muscle Structure of Neck
Spinal Cord

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