The connections of the rostral ventral respiratory cell group (VRG) were retrogradely and anterogradely determined after discrete injections of a mixture of the fluorescent tracers Fast Blue (FB) and Fluoro Ruby (FR) into the physiologically identified rostral inspiratory cell group. Retrogradely FB-labeled neurons and/or anterogradely FR-labeled fibers and terminal fields were located bilaterally in a variety of brain areas. Both retrograde and anterograde labelings were mainly found in: 1) the deep cerebellar nuclei; 2) the lateral lemniscus and paralemniscal nuclei, deep gray, and white intermediate layers of the superior colliculus, tegmental (laterodorsal and microcellular) nuclei, and central gray; and 3) the septohypothalamic nucleus, and lateral and posterior hypothalamic areas. The FR-labeled terminal-like elements were found in: 1) Crus 2 of the ansiform lobule, and the simple, 2, and 3 cerebellar lobules; 2) the subcoeruleus, deep mesencephalic, and Edinger-Westphal nuclei; and 3) the premammillary, lateral, and medial mammillary nuclei, retrochiasmatic part of the supraoptic nucleus, and the zona incerta. The FB-labeled neurons were found in: 1) the parapedunculopontine tegmental and cuneiform nuclei, caudal linear nucleus of the raphe, and adjacent area of the cerebral peduncle; 2) the thalamic posterior nuclear group and subparafascicular, parafascicular, and gelatinosus tha' lamic nuclei; 3) the parastrial amygdaloid and subthalamic nuclei; and 4) the olfactory tubercle, granular, and agranular insular cortex, parietal and lateral orbital cortices. The connections of the rostral VRG with several cerebellar, midbrain, diencephalic, and telencephalic regions could provide an anatomical substrate for a role of these regions in the control of respiratory-related functions.
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