Afferent and efferent projections of the glossopharyngeal-vagal nerve in the hagfish
Matsuda, H.; Goris, R.C.; Kishida, R.
Journal of Comparative Neurology 311(4): 520-530
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9967 PMID: 1757601 DOI: 10.1002/cne.903110407
Anterograde and retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase was used to examine the afferent and efferent projections of the glossopharyngeal-vagal nerve in the hagfish Eptatretus burgeri. Anterogradely labeled ganglion cells are scattered in the glossopharyngeal-vagal nerve trunk, in the saccular ganglion, and in the brainstem. Afferent fibers of the glossopharyngeal-vagal nerve terminate in both the vagal lobe and the fasciculus communis. Close observation showed no morphological differentiation between these two structures, indicating that they are not separate entities, but a single, continuous structure that is homologous with the nucleus and tractus solitarius of other vertebrates. The median part of this structure (the commissura infima) is displaced more rostrally than the same part of the solitary nucleus in many other vertebrates. Some of the afferent fibers invade the ventral portion of the trigeminal sensory nucleus, which receives the maxillo-mandibular nerve fibers, and terminate there. Our study showed that the hagfish has only one nucleus in the vagal motor system, i.e., the vagal motor nucleus, which contains both parasympathetic and branchiomotor neurons. The dendrites of the vagal motor neurons in the hagfish are more highly developed than those in other vertebrates. This suggests that the motor reflex arc of the glossopharyngeal-vagal nerve in hagfishes may be simpler than in other vertebrates.