Central projections and motor nuclei of the facial, glossopharyngeal, and vagus nerves in the mormyrid fish Gnathonemus petersii

Lazar, G.; Szabo, T.; Libouban, S.; Ravaille-Veron, M.; Toth, P.; Brändle, K.

Journal of Comparative Neurology 325(3): 343-358


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9967
PMID: 1447406
DOI: 10.1002/cne.903250303
Accession: 008277457

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Most of the information about the anatomy of the fish's cranial nerves was collected in the first two decades of this century. Experimental analysis of the VIIth, IXth, and Xth cranial nerves by modern tract tracing techniques started about 20 years ago. Several species have been investigated to date, including one species of Agnatha (Myxinoidea), two species of elasmobranchs, and species of some orders of Teleostei like Cyprinidae, Siluriformes, Perciformes, and Gadidae. The sensory and motor nuclei of the VIIth, IXth, and Xth cranial nerves of Gnathonemus petersii were studied by anterograde and retrograde axoplasmatic transport of horseradish peroxidase and cobaltous lysine complex. The sensory nuclei form a continuous column of cells in the brain stem extending caudal to the obex. The rostral one-fourth of this column is occupied by the overlapping terminals of the VIIth and IXth nerves. The vagus nerve has 5 roots. The first 4 of these innervate the gills and the fifth supplies viscera. Afferents from the gills terminate ipsilaterally rostral to the obex in topographic order and their terminal fields overlap. Viscerosensory fibers terminate ipsilaterally in the obex region and bilaterally in the commissural nucleus of Cajal. The facial motor nucleus is located rostral to the sensory nucleus. Facial motoneurons have pear-shaped and multipolar perikarya. Their axons form a rostrally directed knee before leaving the brain. The motoneurons of the IXth and Xth nerves have a common cell column. The vagal motoneurons form a periventricular, a medial, and an intermediate cell group rostral to the obex. In the obex region and also caudal to it, a lateral and a caudal group can be distinguished. Vagal motoneurons show a topographic arrangement that is similar to that of the sensory vagal projections. The majority of motoneurons have pear-shaped perikary and ventrolaterally oriented dendrites. In the caudal nucleus the dendrites extend dorsally and overlap the terminals of sensory fibers. The axons form a dorsolaterally directed arch before joining the sensory roots. Since G. petersii uses its electrosensory system primarily for detection of food, its gustatory system is less developed than in other fishes, which possess a large number of taste buds.

Central projections and motor nuclei of the facial, glossopharyngeal, and vagus nerves in the mormyrid fish Gnathonemus petersii