Limb specific connections of the cat magnocellular red nucleus

F. R. Robinson*, J. C. Houk, A. R. Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Afferent and efferent connections of the limb specific divisions of the cat magnocellular red nucleus (RNm) were traced using the bidirectional transport of wheatgerm agglutinin‐horseradish peroxidase complex (WGA‐HRP). Injection sites within forelimb or hindlimb RNm regions were identified by microelectrode recording and confirmed by the position of labeled rubrospinal terminals. Additional injections into structures that project to, or receive input from, RNm confirmed the somatotopic organization of these pathways. The forelimb region of RNm receives input from the posteriolateral part of the anterior interpositus nucleus (NIA) and the intermediate part of the posterior interpositus nucleus (NIP). The hindlimb region of RNm receives input from anteriomedial NIA and medial NIP. Terminals of NIA cells densely fill all of RNm, but terminals of NIP cells form a half shell on the medial, ventral, and posterior borders of RNm without encroaching on RNm's lateral edge or central core. Forelimb and hindlimb RNm are reciprocally connected with the caudal cuneate and gracile nuclei respectively. There is little or no input to RNm from the medial or lateral cerebellar nuclei. Forelimb RNm, which also contains a face representation, projects to the lateral reticular nucleus, cell group f of the inferior vestibular nucleus, the facial nucleus, the main sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve, the caudal cuneate nucleus, the parvicellular reticular formation, and cervical segments of the spinal cord. A few fibers from forelimb RNm project directly to motor neurons in the lower cervical cord. Hindlimb RNm projects to only the lateral reticular nucleus, gracile nucleus, and lower spinal segments. Forelimb and hindlimb RNm project to different regions of the lateral reticular nucleus with some overlap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-577
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 22 1987


  • brainstem
  • cerebellorubrospinal
  • interpositus nuclei
  • somatotopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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