Cat phrenic nucleus architecture as revealed by horseradish peroxidase mapping

Ch L. Webber, R. D. Wurste, J. M. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Cat phrenic motoneurons, labeled by intradiaphragmatic injection of horseradish peroxidase, formed a tight cluster in the most ventral portion of the ventral horn in lamina IX of the lower cervical cord. Cell counts were symmetrically distributed for 17 to 21 mm along the longitudinal axis of the cord with a unimodal peak at the junction of segments C5 and C6. The phrenic nucleus was bilaterally organized on either side of the cord with anatomical symmetry and in no case was there evidence for the crossing of phrenic axons in the cord. Assessment of cellular geometry and intercellular relationships demonstrated that phrenic cell diameters approximated a normal distribution with a single peak at 26 μm while longitudinal cell lengths averaged 76 μm. Cells of different size were mixed randomly at all levels of the nucleus. The minimum distance between cells was about 10 μm and the maximum cell packing density approached 2 cells per 106 μm3. The results confirm the location of the cat phrenic nucleus, extend the knowledge of phrenic motoneuronal geometry, and provide an anatomical basis for the understanding of recruitment and synchronization phenomena within the phrenic nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • Horseradish peroxidase
  • Neuron geometry
  • Phrenic motoneurons
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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