Retrotrapezoid nucleus: a hub for chemoregulation
Retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) is a hub for respiratory chemoregulation in the mammal brainstem that integrates chemosensory information from peripheral sites and central relays.
Chemosensitive neurons of the Retrotrapezoid nucleus express specific genetic and molecular determinants, which have been used to identify RTN precise location within the brainstem of rodents and nonhuman primates.
Based on a comparative approach, we hypothesized that among mammals, neurons exhibiting the same specific molecular and genetic signature would have the same function.
The co-expression of preprogalanin (PPGAL) and SLC17A6 (VGluT2) mRNAs with duplex in situ hybridization has been studied in formalin fixed paraffin-embedded postmortem human brainstems. Two specimens were processed and analyzed in line with RTN descriptions in adult rats and macaques.
Double-labeled PPGAL+/SLC17A6+ neurons were only identified in the parafacial region of the brainstem. These neurons were found surrounding the nucleus of the facial nerve, located ventrally to the nucleus VII on caudal sections, and slightly more dorsally on rostral sections.
The expression of neuromedin B (NMB) mRNA as a single marker of chemosensitive RTN neurons has not been confirmed in humans.
The location of the RTN in human adults is provided.
This should help to develop investigation tools combining anatomic imaging and respiratory functional investigations to explore the pathogenic role of the RTN diseases.