The distribution of the cells of origin of the primate spinoreticular tract was determined following injections of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into the pontomedullary reticular formation in Macaca fascicularis. Five animals received large bilateral injections which included the raphe nuclei and seven monkeys received smaller, unilateral injections. Sections sampled were from upper cervical levels, the cervical enlargement, upper and lower thoracic levels, and lumbosacral levels. The laminar distribution of spinoreticular cells in all spinal cord levels was comparable. More than half of the labeled cells were located ventromedially, in laminae VII and VIII. HRP‐labeled cells were also found in the dorsal horn, primarily in the lateral reticulated part of lamina V. Some cells were also found in laminae I and X. Spinoreticular cells in the lumbosacral spinal cord mainly projected to the contralateral brainstem. In the cervical enlargement, however, a bilateral distribution of cells was observed following unilateral injections of HRP. Most spinoreticular cells were multipolar neurons with extensive dendritic ramifications. The distribution of spinoreticular cells is similar to the distribution of spinal cord neurons that project to the medial thalamus, but different from that of spinal neurons projecting to the ventrobasal complex. The anatomical organization of the spinoreticular tract is consistent with a role for this pathway in nociception.
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