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Straka, Hans ORCID: 0000-0003-2874-0441; Baker, Robert; Gilland, Edwin (2006): Preservation of segmental hindbrain organization in adult frogs. In: Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 494, No. 2: pp. 228-245
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To test for possible retention of early segmental patterning throughout development, the cranial nerve efferent nuclei in adult ranid frogs were quantitatively mapped and compared with the segmental organization of these nuclei in larvae. Cranial nerve roots IV-X were labeled in larvae with fluorescent dextran amines. Each cranial nerve efferent nucleus resided in a characteristic segmental position within the clearly visible larval hindbrain rhombomeres (r). Trochlear motoneurons were located in r0, trigeminal motoneurons in r2-r3, facial branchiomotor and vestibuloacoustic efferent neurons in r4, abducens and facial parasympathetic neurons in r5, glossopharyngeal motoneurons in r6, and vagal efferent neurons in r7-r8 and rostral spinal cord. In adult frogs, biocytin labeling of cranial nerve roots IV-XII and spinal ventral root 2 in various combinations on both sides of the brain revealed precisely the same rostrocaudal sequence of efferent nuclei relative to each other as observed in larvae. This indicates that no longitudinal migratory rearrangement of hindbrain efferent neurons occurs. Although rhombomeres are not visible in adults, a segmental map of adult cranial nerve efferent nuclei can be inferred from the strict retention of the larval hindbrain pattern. Precise measurements of the borders of adjacent efferent nuclei within a coordinate system based on external landmarks were used to create a quantitative adult segmental map that mirrors the organization of the larval rhombomeric framework. Plotting morphologically and physiologically identified hindbrain neurons onto this map allows the physiological properties of adult hindbrain neurons to be linked with the underlying genetically specified segmental framework.