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

Dendritic distribution of motoneurons innervating the three heads of the trapezius muscle in the cat.

The organization of the nuclei and dendritic architecture of motoneurons innervating the three heads of the trapezius muscle, clavotrapezius (CT), acromiotrapezius (AT), and spinotrapezius (ST), have been examined by using intracellular staining techniques. CT, AT, and ST motoneurons were found in the spinal accessory nucleus and were arranged in three overlapping subnuclei. CT motoneurons were primarily found in C2 and C3. In contrast, most AT motoneurons were found in C3, C4, and C5 and ST motoneurons were found in C4, C5, and the rostral parts of C6. Most dendrites of CT motoneurons, located in rostral C2, extended dorsally and many of these dendrites spread medially and laterally to encompass all of lamina VIII and the dorsolateral part of lamina VII. When viewed in the horizontal plane these motoneurons had a stellate appearance. The dendritic tree structure of CT motoneurons changed abruptly between rostral C2 and mid-C2. The majority of dendrites of CT motoneurons located in the central and caudal parts of C2 projected rostrally and caudally to form a complex bundle of dendrites in the motoneuron nucleus. Small numbers of dendrites were also found ventromedial and dorsal to the soma. The dendritic trees of CT motoneurons in C3 and C4 and AT and ST motoneurons located in C4 and the rostral parts of C5 also followed this fusiform distribution pattern. The dendritic trees of AT and ST motoneurons in caudal C5 were not fusiform but instead had a complex distribution pattern which consisted of dendrites projecting in several directions. Many dendrites projected rostrally and caudally, and in addition, there were major dendritic projections ventrolateral and dorsolateral to the soma. These results indicate that each head of the trapezius muscle is innervated by two structurally dissimilar groups of motoneurons which occupy different spinal segments. Trapezius motoneurons at the same segmental level, regardless of which head of the trapezius muscle they innervated, have similar dendritic trees whose structure differs from those of neighbouring dorsal neck muscle motoneurons in C2, C3, and C4. Thus, the organization of motoneuron dendritic trees appears to be governed by several factors including the muscle innervated by the motoneuron and the transverse and segmental position of the motoneuron's soma.[1]


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