Horseradish peroxidase was injected into various levels of the spinal cord of turtles (Pseudemys and Chrysemys), lizards (Tupinambis, Iquana, Gekko, Sauromelus, and Gerrhonotus), and a crocodilian (Caiman). The results suggest that brainstem reticulospinal projections in limbed reptiles rival mammalian reticulospinal systems in complexity. The reptilian myelencephalic reticular formation can be divided into four distinct reticulospinal nuclei. Reticularis inferior pars dorsalis (RID) contains multipolar neurons which project bilaterally to the spinal cord. Reticularis inferior pars ventralis (RIV), which is only found in lizards and crocodilians, contains fusiform neurons with horizontally running dendrites and it projects ipsilaterally to the spinal cord. Reticularis ventrolateralis (RVL), which is found only in teiid lizards, contains triangular neurons whose dendrites parallel the ventrolateral edge of the brainstem and it projects ipsilaterally to the spinal cord. The myelencephalic raphe (RaI) varies considerably. RaI of turtles contains large reticulospinal neurons which form a continuous population with more laterally situated RID cells. RaI of lizards contains a few small reticulospinal neurons. RaI of the crocodilian Caiman contains giant reticulospinal neurons with laterally directed dendrites. The caudal metencephalic reticular formation of reptiles can be divided into two distinct reticulospinal nuclei. Reticularis medius (RM) contains large neurons with long, ventrally directed dendrites; it projects ipsilaterally to the spinal cord. Reticularis medius pars lateralis (RML) contains small neurons with laterally directed dendrites; it projects contralaterally to the spinal cord. The rostral metencephalic and caudal mesencephalic reticular formation of reptiles can be divided into three distinct reticulospinal nuclei. Reticularis superior pars medialis (RSM) consists mostly of small, spindle-shaped neurons which project bilaterally to the spinal cord. In the lizard Tupinambis, however, large multipolar, ipsilaterally projecting neurons are occasionally seen in RSM. Reticularis superior pars lateralis (RSL) contains large, bilaterally projecting neurons with long, ventrolaterally directed dendrites. RSL in lizards can be divided into a dorsomedial portion, which projects ipsilaterally to the spinal cord, and a ventrolateral portion which projects contralaterally. The locus ceruleus-subceruleus field (LC-SC) contains small spindle-shaped neurons which project bilaterally to the spinal cord. Labeled reticulospinal neurons were also observed in the rostral metencephalic raphe (Ras) of the turtle brainstem. These cells are small, spindle-shaped neurons which resemble the small cells of the adjacent RSM field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes