The somatotopic organization of the cat trigeminal ganglion as determined by the horseradish peroxidase technique

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The somatotopic organization of the cat trigeminal ganglion has been investigated in the present study by using the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) technique. In separate animals, the corneal, supraorbital, infraorbital, inferior alveolar, or mental branches of the trigeminal nerve have been transected and then soaked in concentrated solutions of HRP. Retrogradely labeled corneal and supraorbital neurons have been found, with extensive overlap between the two cell populations, in the anteromedial region of the trigeminal ganglion. Inferior alveolar and mental neurons have been found to possess similar distributions within the posterolateral part of the trigeminal ganglion. Infraorbital cells have been localized in a central position. The cell bodies of any given nerve are found in at least minimal numbers in all dorsoventral levels of the trigeminal ganglion. However, cell bodies of origin of the supraorbital nerve and the lateral branch of the infraorbital nerve, innervating more posterior or lateral areas of the head and face, are found in greater numbers dorsally. Conversely, cell bodies of origin of the medial branch of the infraorbital nerve, the inferior alveolar nerve, and the mental nerve, supplying more rostral or intraoral areas of the orofacial region, are present in greater numbers ventrally. In contrast, corneal neurons are distributed uniformly in the dorsoventral axis. The ophthalmic and maxillary regions of the trigeminal ganglion appear to be well segregated, whereas the maxillary and mandibular regions exhibit a somewhat greater degree of overlap. Cell bodies of corneal afferent neurons range from 20 to 50 μm in diameter, whereas those of supraorbital, infraorbital, inferior alveolar and mental neurons measure from 20 to 85 μm. It is concluded from the findings of the present work that much of the cat trigeminal ganglion is organized somatotopically in not only the mediolateral axis but also in the dorsoventral axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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