The organisation of spinal projecting brainstem neurons in an animal model of muscular dystrophy: A retrograde tracing study on mdx mutant mice

Donatella Carretta, Marialaura Santarelli, Duccio Vanni, Riccardo Carrai, Alessandro Sbriccoli, Francesco Pinto, Diego Minciacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies we performed on the mdx mouse demonstrated marked central nervous system alterations in this model of human Duchenne muscular dystrophy, such as reduction in number and pathological changes of cortico-spinal neurons. Prompted by these findings we extended the survey of the mdx brain to the major brainstem-descending pathways: the rubro-, vestibulo-, reticulo-, and raphe-spinal projections. Horseradish peroxidase microinjections were performed in the cervical spinal cord of mdx and control mice. The rubro-spinal neurons were found to be significantly reduced in mutants compared to controls. The vestibulo-spinal, reticulo-spinal, and raphe-spinal cell populations, though less numerous in mdx than in control mice, were instead substantially spared. Our data further unveil the selective nature of mdx brain damage indicating a marked and selective involvement of the highest centers for motor control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 23 2001



  • Descending motor projection
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Motor system
  • Red nucleus
  • Wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish perxidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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