5-HT innervation of reticulospinal neurons and other brainstem structures in lamprey. Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to determine if reticulospinal neurons involved in the control of locomotion and responsive to exogenously applied 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) are innervated by fibers that contain serotonin, the serotoninergic innervation of reticulospinal neurons, identified by retrograde labeling with fluorescein-conjugated dextran-amine (FDA), was investigated by immunohistochemistry in the lamprey brainstem. A widespread distribution of 5-HT immunoreactive (5-HT-ir) fibers was seen within the basal plate of the brainstem, an area containing reticulospinal somata and dendritic aborizations. Numerous 5-HT varicose fibers were found in close relation to large reticulospinal cell bodies, particularly in the middle and anterior rhombencephalic reticular nuclei (MRRN and ARRN). Some of these reticulospinal somata were surrounded by a very dense pericellular 5-HT innervation. 5-HT-ir fibers were also seen in other brain structures that are known to influence reticulospinal neurons such as the rhombencephalic alar plate containing sensory relay interneurons, cranial nerves (III-X), cerebellum, and tectum. These findings suggest that, as in the spinal cord, motor behavior controlled by reticulospinal neurons may be subject to a serotoninergic modulation.

publication date

  • April 1, 1994