A dorsolateral spinothalamic tract in macaque monkey

A. Vania Apkarian*, Charles J. Hodge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Prior work has indicated the existence of a major spinal cord pathway made up of lamina I cell axons ascending in the dorsolateral funiculus in both rat and cat. In cat, a portion of this lamina I dorsolateral funiculus pathway terminates in the thalamus. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that a similar dorsolateral spinothalamic tract exists in macaque monkey. Retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase, injected into the somatosensory thalamus of monkeys, was used to identify the cells of origin of the spinothalamic tract in the cervical and lumbar enlargements. In order to determine the funicular courses of the axons contributing to the spinothalamic pathway, thalamic injections of horseradish peroxidase were combined with ipsilateral ventral or dorsolateral thoracic spinal cord lesions. The results indicate that in macaque monkey many lamina I cell axons ascend to the thalamus in the dorsolateral funiculus, contralateral to their parent cells. Some lamina I cell axons as well as the majority of axons of spinothalamic cells located in deeper laminae ascend in the contralateral ventral quadrant to terminate in the thalamus. The existence in macaque of a dorsolateral spinothalamic pathway comprised of lamina I cell axons strongly implies the presence of a similar pathway in humans and has important implications regarding the mechanisms underlying both clinical and experimental nociception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1989


  • Lamina I cells
  • Pain
  • Spinothalamic tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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