A first-order synaptic relay for taste fibers in the pontine brain stem of the cat
Review articleOpen access

SummaryMicroelectrode recordings were used to locate taste responsive neurons in a recently discovered area of termination of facial nerve afferents in the pontine brain stem of the cat. The neurons were activated by electrical stimulation of the chorda tympani nerve, followed by stimulation of the tongue with standard taste of solutions. Electrolytic lesions were made to mark the depth of active sites and electrode penetrations were reconstructed from frozen serial sections.The taste neurons were found in a group of cells lying outside and dorsomedial to the main body of the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus. The small size of the taste responsive area and its relationship to typical trigeminal responses lend weight to the existence of a morphologically distinct nucleus intertrigeminails reported elsewhere.The report of an uncrossed dorsal trigeminal tract linking this area to the thalamus would explain the ipsilateral taste projection found in the thalamus of cat and monkey. The contralateral taste projection in the rat would be consistent with the absence of a pontine termination for the facial afferents in that species. The existence of a taste are in the bulbar solitary nucleus of the cat was confirmed and its possible role in taste function is discussed.

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