The nucleus pararaphales in the human, chimpanzee, and macaque monkey Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The human cerebral cortex and cerebellum are greatly expanded compared to those of other mammals, including the great apes. This expansion is reflected in differences in the size and organization of precerebellar brainstem structures, such as the inferior olive. In addition, there are cell groups unique to the human brainstem. One such group may be the nucleus pararaphales (PRa); however, there is disagreement among authors about the size and location of this nucleus in the human brainstem. The name "pararaphales" has also been used for neurons in the medulla shown to project to the flocculus in the macaque monkey. We have re-examined the existence and status of the PRa in eight humans, three chimpanzees, and four macaque monkeys using Nissl-stained sections as well as immunohistochemistry. In the human we found a cell group along the midline of the medulla in all cases; it had the form of interrupted cell columns and was variable among cases in rostrocaudal and dorsoventral extent. Cells and processes were highly immunoreactive for non-phosphorylated neurofilament protein (NPNFP); somata were immunoreactive to the synthetic enzyme for nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, and for calretinin. In macaque monkey, there was a much smaller oval cell group with NPNFP immunoreactivity. In the chimpanzee, we found a region of NPNFP-immunoreactive cells and fibers similar to what was observed in macaques. These results suggest that the "PRa" in the human may not be the same structure as the flocculus-projecting cell group described in the macaque. The PRa, like the arcuate nucleus, therefore may be unique to humans.

authors

  • Baizer, Joan S
  • Weinstock, Nadav
  • Witelson, Sandra
  • Sherwood, Chet C
  • Hof, Patrick R

publication date

  • March 2013

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