Organization of the motoneurons innervating the pelvic muscles of the male rat

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The cytoarchitecture of the motoneuron pool of the male rat was studied at the lumbo-sacral transition area, particularly in L6. In the latter segment a dorso-medial (DM), ventral (V), dorso-lateral (DL), and retrodorso-lateral group (RDL) could be defined. The DL group was associated with a prominent longitudinal dendrite bundle and the CM group with smaller transverse bundles. Moreover, close soma-somatic apposition was found between neurons in these columns. Because L6 gives rise to n. pudendus and contributes to n. ischiadicus, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was applied to the cut n. ischiadicus and in other experiments injected into the pelvic muscles. Neurons in RDL were labeled following exposure of n. ischiadicus to HRP. Injections in m. levator ani resulted in labeled neurons in the V group, mainly below L6. Injections in m. sphincter urethrae resulted in labeled neurons in the DL group as well as neurons immediately cranial to this column. Musculus ischiocavernosus injections resulted in transport of HRP to neurons in the DL group, primarily in its medial part, and to more cranially located neurons. In addition, some neurons in the V group in L6 were labeled. Following injections in m. bulbocavernosus and m. sphincter ani, labeled neurons were found primarily in the DM group, and to a lesser extent in the V group. Histochemical investigations with staining methods for the localization of acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) and heavy metals (the Timm method) demonstrated that part of the neuropil of DL and of DM were different from the rest of the motoneuron neuropil. In the DL group the area with the diverging staining patterns corresponded to the region of the dendrite bundle. The experimental data indicated and the ultrastructural studies demonstrated that the histochemical differences could be correlated with differences in the composition of the populations of boutons. The comparison of the cytoarchitectural and histochemical data with the results obtained by the aid of the retrograde HRP tracing technique established that mm. sphincter urethrae, ischiocavernosus, bulbocavernosus, and sphincter ani were each innervated by two populations of neurons that were situated in separate areas which had different histochemical properties, and which thus probably have different compositions of their afferent inputs. The duality in the motoneuron pool that innervates the pelvic mucscle might be a reflection of the dual influence on these muscles. As all other striated muscles the pelvic muscles are under voluntary control. However, they are also tightly linked to the function of the pelvic viscera and thus under influence of the autonomic nervous system.

TidsskriftJournal of Comparative Neurology
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)567-87
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 1. aug. 1980

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