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Ascending projection of jaw-closing muscle-proprioception to the intralaminar thalamic nuclei in rats

Sato, F;Kado, S;Tsutsumi, Y;Tachibana, Y;Ikenoue, E;Furuta, T;Uchino, K;Bae, YC;Uzawa, N;Yoshida, A;

An invasive intralaminar thalamic stimulation and a non-invasive application of oral splint are both effective in treating tic symptoms of patients with Tourette syndrome (TS). Therefore, these two treatments may exert some influence on the same brain region in TS patients. We thus hypothesized that the proprioceptive input arising from the muscle spindles of jaw-closing muscles (JCMSs), known to be increased by the application of oral splint, is transmitted to the intralaminar thalamic nuclei. To test this issue, we morphologically and electrophysiologically examined the thalamic projections of proprioceptive input from the JCMSs to the intralaminar thalamic nuclei of rats. We first injected an anterograde tracer, biotinylated dextranamine, into the electrophysiologically identified supratrigeminal nucleus, which is known to receive proprioceptive inputs from the JCMSs via the trigeminal mesencephalic neurons. A moderate number of biotinylated dextranamine-labeled axon terminals were bilaterally distributed in the oval paracentral nucleus (OPC) of the intralaminar thalamic nuclei. We also detected electrophysiological responses to the electrical stimulation of bilateral masseter nerves and to sustained jaw-opening in the OPC. After injection of retrograde tracer (cholera toxin B subunit or Fluorogold) into the OPC, neuronal cell bodies were retrogradely labeled in the rostrodorsal portion of the bilateral supratrigeminal nucleus. Here, we show that proprioceptive inputs from the JCMSs are conveyed to the OPC in the intralaminar nuclei via the supratrigeminal nucleus. This study can help to understand previously unrecognized pathways of proprioception ascending inputs from the brainstem to the thalamus, which may contribute to treatments of TS patients. Copyright 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.