The brainstem connections of the supplementary motor area and its relations to the corticospinal tract: experimental rat and human 3-tesla tractography study

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2024-01-28
Date
2023-01-28
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Source Title
Neuroscience Letters
Print ISSN
0304-3940
Electronic ISSN
1872-7972
Publisher
Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Volume
798
Issue
137099
Pages
137099-1 - 137099-10
Language
en
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Abstract

Although the supplementary motor area (SMA) is a large region on the medial surface of the frontal lobe of the brain, little is known about its function. The current study uses 3-tesla high-resolution diffusion tensor tractography (DTI) in healthy individuals and biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) and fluoro-gold (FG) tracer in rats to demonstrate the afferent and efferent connections of the SMA with brainstem structures. It also aims to clarify how SMA fibers relate to the corticospinal tract (CST). The BDA (n = 6) and FG (n = 8) tracers were pressure-injected into the SMA of 14 Wistar albino rats. Light and fluorescence microscopy was used to capture images of the FG and BDA-labeled cells and axons. High-resolution 3-tesla DTI data were acquired from the Human Connectome Project database. Tracts between the SMA and brainstem structures were analyzed using diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) studio software. The FG injections into the SMA showed afferent projections from mesencephalic (periaqueductal gray matter, substantia nigra pars reticulata, ventral tegmental area, inferior colliculus, mesencephalic reticular, tegmental, and raphe nuclei), pontine (locus coeruleus, pontine reticular and vestibular nuclei), and medullary (area postrema, parabrachial, and medullary reticular nuclei) structures. The anterograde tracer BDA injections into the SMA showed efferent connections with mesencephalic (periaqueductal gray, substantia nigra pars compacta, dorsal raphe, trigeminal motor mesencephalic, and mesencephalic reticular nuclei), pontine (locus coeruleus, nucleus of the lateral lemniscus, vestibular, cochlear, and pontine reticular nuclei), and medullary (area postrema, medullary reticular, olivary, and parabrachial nuclei) structures. The SMA had efferent but no afferent connections with the cerebellar nuclei. The DTI results in healthy human subjects highly corresponded with the experimental results. Further, the DTI results showed a distinct bundle that descended to spinal levels closely related to the CST. Understanding SMA's afferent and efferent connections will enrich our knowledge of its contribution to various brainstem networks and may provide new perspectives for understanding its motor and non-motor functions. © 2023 Elsevier B.V.

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