Collaterals of spinothalamic tract cells to the periaqueductal gray: a fluorescent double-labeling study in the rat

Pamela A. Harmann, Susan M. Carlton, William D. Willis

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    Spinothalamic tract (STT) cells were investigated in the rat to determine the distribution of STT cells with terminals in both the ventrobasal (VB) thalamus and the lateral periaqueductal gray (PAG). Two retrogradely transported fluorescent dyes (Diamidino yellow and Granular blue) were injected into each animal. The distribution of single- and double-labeled cells was mapped in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral spinal cord. An average of 1.4% of all STT cells and 6.2% of PAG cells projected to both VB thalamus and PAG. Double-labeled cells were observed only in cervical and lumbar levels of the spinal cord, with the greatest number found in the cervical enlargement. The double-labeled cells were located in laminae I and V and also in the lateral spinal nucleus (LSN). The number of double-labeled cells found in each of these 3 areas varied depending on the spinal cord level. This population of neurons exhibiting collaterals provide an anatomical mechanism by which noxious stimuli activate neurons not only in the thalamus but also in the PAG, which is an area involved in stimulation-produced analgesia (SPA).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)87-97
    Number of pages11
    JournalBrain Research
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Feb 16 1988



    • Double-label fluorescence
    • Periaqueductal gray
    • Spinothalamic tract

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)
    • Molecular Biology
    • Clinical Neurology
    • Developmental Biology

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