Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 10–20 | Cite as

Descending input from the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus to sympathetic preganglionic neurons in the rat

  • Y. Hosoya
  • Y. Sugiura
  • N. Okado
  • A. D. Loewy
  • K. Kohno


The descending projection of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) to the sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPNs) in the upper thoracic cord of the rat was studied. PVN-fibers were labeled by anterograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L), while SPNs were retrogradely labeled with cholera toxin subunit B (CTb) which was injected into the superior cervical ganglion. SPNs labeled with CTb were mainly observed in the nucleus intermediolateralis (IML) pars principalis and pars funicularis, and a small number of them were in the nucleus intercalatus (IC) and central autonomic nucleus (CA). SPNs found in the IML had dendrites that projected in various directions. Five types of dendritic projections were noted: medial, rostral, caudal, lateral (including dorsolateral) and ventral. Longitudinal dendritic bundles interconnected each cell cluster in the IML. Medial dendrites of the IML, together with dendrites of the IC and CA, formed transverse dendritic bundles extending from the IML to the central canal. The transverse dendritic bundles disentangled near the midline and formed a loose dendritic plexus in the region just dorsal to the central canal. PVN-fibers labeled with PHA-L were observed primarily in lamina I and intermediate gray (lamina VII). Although varicose PVN-fibers and SPNs coexisted in the IML, the tight packing of the dendritic bundles prevented any clear demonstration of direct contacts between them. On the other hand, PVN-fibers were occasionally found to appose and wind around the primary or secondary dendrites of some SPNs of the CA and IC. These dendrites were studded with varicosities of PVN-fibers for a short length, and terminal boutons of PVN-fibers were also seen to make contact directly with the dendrites. The results of this study substantiated a direct connection between the PVN and SPNs, using a combination of immunohistochemical techniques for PHA-L and CTb. The possible involvement of a direct pathway from the PVN to SPNs in cardiovascular regulation is discussed.

Key words

Hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus PHA-L Spinal projection Sympathetic preganglionic neurons Dendritic organization Cholera toxin Immunohistochemistry Rat 



anterior funiculus


central autonomic nucleus


central canal


cholera toxin subunit B


horseradish peroxidase


nucleus intercalatus


nucleus intermediolateralis pars funicularis


nucleus intermediolateralis


nucleus intermediolateralis pars principalis


longitudinal dendritic bundle


lateral funiculus


posterior funiculus


Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin


hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus


sympathetic preganglionic neurons


transverse dendritic bundle


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Hosoya
    • 1
  • Y. Sugiura
    • 2
  • N. Okado
    • 1
  • A. D. Loewy
    • 3
  • K. Kohno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyInstitute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyFukushima Medical CollegeFukushimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and NeurobiologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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