Lacrimal preganglionic neurons form a subdivision of the superior salivatory nucleus of rat: Transneuronal labelling by pseudorabies virus

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Transneuronal viral tracing was applied to localize preganglionic parasympathetic neurons in the brainstem which innervate the extraorbital lacrimal gland in the rat. The Bartha strain of pseudorabies virus was injected into the lacrimal gland, and after different survival times, the superior cervical and Gasserian ganglia, the upper thoracic spinal cords and the brainstems were immunostained by antiviral antiserum. Virus-labelled neurons appeared in the ganglia and in the ventrolateral part of the ipsilateral brainstem at the pontomedullary junction 45 h after inoculation. The virus-labelled brainstem neurons comprised a subgroup of the superior salivatory nucleus (SSN) located between the root fibers of the facial nerve and the nuclei of the superior olive, and were clearly distinguished from the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunopositive, A5 catecholaminergic neurons by double immunostaining. The number of infected cells in the ipsilateral SSN was increased by 72 h, and labelled neurons appeared in the intermediolateral cell column (IML) of the ipsilateral thoracic spinal cord. In rats with cervical ganglionectomy prior to the virus injection in the lacrimal gland, virus-infected cells appeared in the SSN, but not in the thoracic spinal cord, indicating that preganglionic SSN cells were infected via parasympathetic axons of the facial nerve. A double-virus tracer labelling technique was applied to determine the topographical relationship between the preganglionic parasympathetic neurons of the lacrimal gland and those of the submandibular gland within the SSN. Simultaneous injection of Bartha strain of pseudorabies virus into the submandibular gland, and a lacZ gene-containing Bartha-derived virus strain into the lacrimal gland (and vice versa) demarcated a ventral lacrimal and a dorsal submandibular subgroup in the SSN. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Autonomic Nervous System
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 7 1999



  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lacrimal gland
  • Transneuronal viral tracing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology

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