Cell groups of the spinal cord and the brain transsynaptically connected with the epididymis (caput, cauda) were identified by means of the viral transneuronal tracing technique. Pseudorabies virus was injected into the caput or the cauda epididymidis, and after survival times 4 and 5 days, the spinal cord and brain were processed immunocytochemically. Virus-labeled neurons could be detected in the preganglionic sympathetic neurons (lower thoracic and upper lumbar segments) and following virus injection into the cauda epididymidis, also in the sacral parasympathetic nucleus (L6-S1). Virus-infected perikarya were present in several brain stem nuclei (lateral reticular nucleus, gigantocellular and paragigantocellular nucleus, A5 noradrenergic cell group, caudal raphe nuclei, locus coeruleus, Barrington's nucleus, nucleus of the solitary tract, periaqueductal gray) and in the diencephalon (hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, lateral hypothalamus). At the longer survival time, some telencephalic structures also exhibited virus-labeled neurons. The distribution of infected neurons in the brain was similar after virus injection into the caput or cauda epididymidis; however, earlier onset of infection was observed after inoculation into the cauda. The present findings provide the first morphological data on a multisynaptic circuit of neurons innervating the epididymis and presumably involved in the control of epididymal functions.
- Autonomic nervous system
- Spinal cord
- Transsynaptic neural labeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience