Morphology and distribution of the glossopharyngeal nerve afferent and efferent neurons in the mexican salamander, axolotl: A cobaltic‐lysine study

Takatoshi Nagai, Toshiya Matsushima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Cobaltic‐lysine complex was used to label the afferent and efferent components of the glossopharyngeal nerve in the ganglion and brainstem of the Mexican salamander, axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). The distribution of afferent cell bodies in the combined glossopharyngeal‐vagus ganglion (the IX‐X ganglion) was reconstructed from serial sections, and the sizes of the cell bodies were measured. The central projection of afferents and the location of efferent cell bodies were determined by the tracer. The afferent cell bodies in the ganglion were medium‐sized (ca. 25 μm). Cell bodies with a single process were seen. The ganglion was not clearly divided into superior and inferior ganglia, as is observed in mammals and frogs, but comprised a single ganglion. Labelled cells were diffusely distributed in the rostral part of the IX‐X ganglion. A few labelled cells also were seen in the caudal part, where the vagus nerve fibers and cell bodies were mainly distributed. Double labellings of the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves with HRP and cobaltic‐lysine demonstrated that the ganglion cells of each nerve are not clearly separated in the IX‐X ganglion. In the brainstem, the majority of afferent fibers formed thick ascending and descending limbs in the solitary fasciculus. The remaining afferent fibers formed a thin bundle in the spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve, which had a short ascending limb and a long descending limb. These two bundles had terminal areas in the ipsilateral brainstem: in the dorsal gray matter for the solitary fasciculus and in the lateral funiculus for the spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve, respectively. The cell bodies of the efferent neurons possessed developed dendritic arborizations in the ventrolateral white matter, and formed a longitudinal cell column in the ventrolateral margin of the gray matter. Thus, the glossopharyngeal nerve system in the axolotl assumes a primordial form in its ganglions, but its topographical organization in the brainstem is basically similar to that in anurans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990 Dec 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambystoma
  • brainstem
  • chemoreceptors
  • neuroanatomy
  • taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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