Dynorphin A-containing neural elements in the nucleus of the solitary tract of the rat. Light and electron microscopic immunohistochemistry

Mariann Fodor, Attila Csiffáry, Péter Kiss, Miklós Palkovits

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Distribution of dynorphin A (DyA) immunoreactivity in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) was examined in rats after various surgical transections by light and electron microscopic immunohistochemistry. In colchicine-treated animals DyA immunostained were seen in each subdivision of the NTS. In intact rats, dense network of immunopositive nerve fibers was localized light microscopically, and synaptic contacts were found between DyA immunopositive structures (axo-axonic, axo-dendritic synapses), electron microscopicaly. Surgical transections medial, caudal or rostral to the nucleus did not alter the distribution pattern of DyA in the NTS. Lesion immediately lateral to the nucleus resulted in an ipsilateral appearance of immunostained cell bodies. Vagal and glossopharyngeal aferents (including baroreceptor fibers) terminate in the medial and commissural subnucleus of the NTS. Two days after extracranial vagotomy, synaptic contacts between degenerated presynaptic boutons and DyA immunopositive postsynaptic elements were observed in both medial and commissural part of the NTS. These observations provide morphological evidence suggesting that (1) axons of dynorphin A-containing cell bodies form an intrinsic network inside the nucleus; (2) these DyA cells receive direct peripheral inputs through the vagus nerve, and (3) projecting DyA neurons may exist in the NTS, they may innervate medullary, rather than forebrain, higher brainstem or spinal cord neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 9 1990


  • Dynorphin A
  • Immunoelectron microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nucleus tractus solitarii
  • Vagus nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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