Trigeminal primary neuronal cell bodies were labeled by retrograde transport of Fluoro-gold (FG) from the nasal mucosa of rats. The trigeminal ganglion containing the labeled cell bodies were processed for double stain for calretinin- and tachykinin-immunoreactivities (CR- and TK-irs). Except for a few contralateral cells, all the cells that innervated the nasal mucosa (NM cells) were confined to the ophthalmo-maxillary division of the trigeminal ganglion ipsilateral to the FG application. In the dorsal two-thirds of the ganglion, NM cells formed a cluster in the rostromedial part of ophthalmo-maxillary division (the rostromedial cluster). In the ventral third, the number of cells in the rostromedial cluster markedly decreased. Instead, numerous NM cells were found in the caudolateral part of the ophthalmo-maxillary division (the caudoventrolateral cluster). CR- and TK-irs were detected in 18% and 54% of overall population of NM cells, respectively. Virtually all of CR-immunoreactive (-ir) NM cells coexpressed TK. Although the proportion of TK-ir cells, irrespective of CR-ir, was similar for both clusters, CR-ir cells were more frequent in the caudoventrolateral cluster than in the rostromedial cluster. In the dorsal 1/3 of the ganglion where all the NM cells belonged to the rostromedial cluster, only 8.4% exhibited CR-ir. On the other hand, as much as 30.1% of NM cells expressed CR-ir in the ventral 1/3 where most NM cells were found in the caudoventrolateral cluster. Trigeminal cell bodies innervating the cornea and conjunctivum were located in the rostromedial part of the ophthalmo-maxillary division. About 40% and 4% of them were positive for TK and CR, respectively. As was the case for NM cells, all the CR-ir cells innervating these (peri-)ocular structures exhibited TK-ir. The nasal mucosa contained both CR- and TK-ir free nerve endings within the epithelium. The CR-ir endings almost always coexpressed TK.
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