Quantitative Morphological Analysis of the Motoneurons Innervating Muscles Involved in Tongue Movements of the Frog Rana esculenta

András Birinyi, George Szekely, Krisztina Csapó, Clara Matesz

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We give an account of an effort to make quantitative morphological distinctions between motoneurons of the frog innervating functionally different groups of muscles involved in the movements of the tongue. The protractor, retractor, and inner muscles of the tongue were considered on the basis of their major action during the prey-catching behavior of the frog. Motoneurons were selectively labeled with cobalt lysin through the nerves of the individual muscles, and dendritic trees of successfully labeled neurons were reconstructed. Each motoneuron was characterized by 15 quantitative morphological parameters describing the size of the soma and dendritic tree and 12 orientation variables related to the shape and orientation of the dendritic field. The variables were subjected to multivariate discriminant analysis to find correlations between form and function of these motoneurons. According to the morphological parameters, the motoneurons were classified into three functionally different groups weighted by the shape of the perikaryon, mean diameter of stem dendrites, and mean length of dendritic segments. The most important orientation variables in the separation of three groups were the ellipses describing the shape of dendritic arborization in the horizontal, frontal, and sagittal planes of the brainstem. These findings indicate that characteristic geometry of the dendritic tree may have a preference for one array of fibers over another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-421
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2004



  • Brainstem
  • Cobalt labeling
  • Dendritic orientation
  • Multivariate statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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