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Keywords:

  • hindbrain;
  • motor nuclei;
  • sensory nuclei;
  • inferior olive;
  • rhombomere;
  • segmentation

Abstract

We present a correlative fate map of the nonsegmented caudal hindbrain down to the medullospinal boundary (medulla oblongata), as a companion to a previous fate mapping study of the hindbrain rhombomeres r2–r6 in quail chick chimeras at stages HH10/11 [Marín and Puelles (1995) Eur J Neurosci 7:1714–1738]. For reproducibility and equivalent precision of analysis, successive portions of the medulla—called pseudorhombomeres “r7” to “r11”—were delimited by transverse planes through the center of adjacent somites at stages HH10/11. These units were each grafted homotopically and isochronically from quail donors into chick hosts. The chimeric specimens were fixed at stages HH35/36 and alternate Nissl-stained sagittal sections were compared to adjacent sections in which quail cells were detected immunocytochemically. This analysis in general showed that there is little intermixing between adjacent pseudorhombomeric domains, although some neuronal populations in the vestibular and trigeminal columns, as well as in the reticular formation and pontine nuclei, do migrate selectively into the host hindbrain. Contralateral migration was scarce up to the stages examined. Several motor nuclei, i.e., the vagal motor complex, or sensory nuclei, i.e., the medial vestibular nucleus, show cytoarchitectonic limits that coincide with pseudorhombomeric ones; however, most conventional grisea were found to originate across several pseudorhombomeres. The inferior olivary complex originated between “r8” and “r11” (between the centers of somites 1 and 5). The medullospinal boundary coincided precisely with the center of the fifth somite, slightly caudal to the obex and the end of the choroidal roof, and correlated with the end of many medullary cytoarchitectonic units. In contrast, the dorsal column nuclei and the caudal subnucleus of the descending trigeminal column fell within the spinal cord. On the whole, the patterns observed were very similar to those found before within the overtly segmented part of the hindbrain, suggesting that some underlying common mechanism may account for the transverse cytoarchitectonic boundaries. J. Comp. Neurol. 427:522–545, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.