The Journal of comparative neurology

Expression of vesicular glutamate transporter 1 immunoreactivity in peripheral and central endings of trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus neurons in the rat.

PMID 16856164


The major neuronal components of the trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus (Vmes) are primary afferent neurons that convey proprioceptive information from the cranioorofacial regions. In the present study, we examined expression of vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs), VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, in the primary afferent neurons of the Vmes (Vmes neurons) in neonatal and adult rats. VGLUT1 immunoreactivity was detected in the cell bodies of Vmes neurons in neonatal rats younger than 11 days old, but not in older rats. However, in situ hybridization signals for VGLUT1 mRNA were detected in both neonatal and adult rats. No VGLUT2 immunoreactivity was detected in Vmes neurons of neonatal or adult rats. VGLUT1 immunoreactivity was also seen in the peripheral sensory endings on the equatorial regions of intrafusal fibers of muscle spindles in the masseter muscles in both neonatal and adult rats. In adult rats injected with cholera toxin B subunit (CTb) into the masseter nerve, central axon terminals of Vmes neurons were identified on masseter motoneurons within the trigeminal motor nucleus (Vm) by transganglionically and retrogradely transported CTb. VGLUT1-immunopositive axon terminals in close apposition to CTb-labeled Vm motoneurons were also detected by dual-immunofluorescence histochemistry for VGLUT1/CTb. Electron microscopy after dual immunolabeling for VGLUT1/CTb by the VGLUT1/immunoperoxidase and CTb/immunogold-silver methods further revealed synaptic contact of VGLUT1- and CTb-immunopositive axon terminals upon CTb-labeled neuronal profiles within the Vm. These data indicate that VGLUT1 is expressed in both the central axon terminals and the peripheral sensory endings of Vmes neurons, although no VGLUT1 immunoreactivity was detectable in the cell bodies of Vmes neurons in adult rats.