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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Organization of projections from the raphe nuclei to the vestibular nuclei in rats.

Previous anatomic and electrophysiological evidence suggests that serotonin modulates processing in the vestibular nuclei. This study examined the organization of projections from serotonergic raphe nuclei to the vestibular nuclei in rats. The distribution of serotonergic axons in the vestibular nuclei was visualized immunohistochemically in rat brain slices using antisera directed against the serotonin transporter. The density of serotonin transporter-immunopositive fibers is greatest in the superior vestibular nucleus and the medial vestibular nucleus, especially along the border of the fourth ventricle; it declines in more lateral and caudal regions of the vestibular nuclear complex. After unilateral iontophoretic injections of Fluoro-Gold into the vestibular nuclei, retrogradely labeled neurons were found in the dorsal raphe nucleus (including the dorsomedial, ventromedial and lateral subdivisions) and nucleus raphe obscurus, and to a minor extent in nucleus raphe pallidus and nucleus raphe magnus. The combination of retrograde tracing with serotonin immunohistofluorescence in additional experiments revealed that the vestibular nuclei receive both serotonergic and non-serotonergic projections from raphe nuclei. Tracer injections in densely innervated regions (especially the medial and superior vestibular nuclei) were associated with the largest numbers of Fluoro-Gold-labeled cells. Differences were observed in the termination patterns of projections from the individual raphe nuclei. Thus, the dorsal raphe nucleus sends projections that terminate predominantly in the rostral and medial aspects of the vestibular nuclear complex, while nucleus raphe obscurus projects relatively uniformly throughout the vestibular nuclei. Based on the topographical organization of raphe input to the vestibular nuclei, it appears that dense projections from raphe nuclei are colocalized with terminal fields of flocculo-nodular lobe and uvula Purkinje cells. It is hypothesized that raphe-vestibular connections are organized to selectively modulate processing in regions of the vestibular nuclear complex that receive input from specific cerebellar zones. This represents a potential mechanism whereby motor activity and behavioral arousal could influence the activity of cerebellovestibular circuits.[1]


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