Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Dorsal Column Nuclei Neuroanatomy Reveals A Complex Sensorimotor Integration and Distribution Hub

Version 1 : Received: 7 November 2019 / Approved: 8 November 2019 / Online: 8 November 2019 (04:07:34 CET)

How to cite: Loutit, A.J.; Vickery, R.M.; Potas, J.R. The Dorsal Column Nuclei Neuroanatomy Reveals A Complex Sensorimotor Integration and Distribution Hub. Preprints 2019, 2019110084 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0084.v1). Loutit, A.J.; Vickery, R.M.; Potas, J.R. The Dorsal Column Nuclei Neuroanatomy Reveals A Complex Sensorimotor Integration and Distribution Hub. Preprints 2019, 2019110084 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201911.0084.v1).

Abstract

The dorsal column nuclei (DCN) are organised by both somatotopy and modality, and have a diverse range of afferent inputs and projection targets. The functional organisation and connectivity of the DCN implicate them in a variety of sensorimotor functions, beyond their commonly accepted role in processing and transmitting somatosensory information to the thalamus, yet this is largely underappreciated in the literature. In this review, we examine the morphology, organisation, and connectivity of the DCN and their associated nuclei, to improve understanding of their sensorimotor functions. First, we briefly discuss the receptors, afferent fibres, and pathways involved in conveying tactile and proprioceptive information to the DCN. Next, we review the modality and somatotopic arrangements of the constituents of the dorsal column nuclei complex (DCN-complex), which includes the gracile, cuneate, external cuneate, X, and Z nuclei, and Bischoff’s nucleus. Finally, we examine and discuss the functional implications of the myriad of DCN-complex projection targets throughout the midbrain, and hindbrain, in addition to their modulatory inputs from the cortex. The organisation and connectivity of the DCN-complex suggest that these nuclei should be considered a complex integration and distribution hub for sensorimotor information.

Subject Areas

brainstem sensory nuclei; somatosensation; secondary afferents; posterior column

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