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Is Marcus Gunn jaw winking a primitive reflex? Rat neuroanatomy

Liang, HC;Zhang, JD;Luo, PF;Qiao, Y;Su, AL;Zhang, T;Zhu, HN;

To investigate a possible trigeminal proprioceptive-oculomotor neural pathway and explore possible synaptic connections between neurons in this pathway. Attempt to bring a new insight to mechanism of Marcus Gunn syndrome (MGS). Anterograde and retrograde tract tracing was applied and combined with immunofluorescent stain in rats. After electrophysiological identifying mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus (Vme) neurons, intracellular injection of tracer was performed to trace axon trajectory. Following injections of anterograde tracers into the Vme, labeled terminals were observed ipsilateral in oculomotor and trochlear nuclei (III/IV), as well as in their premotor neurons in interstitial nucleus of Cajal and Darkschewitsch nucleus (INC/DN). Combining with choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunofluorescent stain, it showed that Vme projecting terminals contact upon ChAT positive III/IV motoneurons under confocal microscope. By retrograde labeling premotor neurons of the III, it showed that Vme neuronal terminals contact with retrogradely labeled pre-oculomotor neurons in the INC/DN. Axons of intracellularly labeled Vme neurons that respond to electric stimuli of the masseter nerve traveled into the ipsilateral III. There may exist a trigeminal proprioceptive-oculomotor system neural circuit in the rat, which is probably related to vertical-torsional eye movements. Possible association of this pathway with MGS etiology was discussed.