Locations of spinothalamic tract axons in cervical and thoracic spinal cord white matter in monkeys.
A dorsolateral spinothalamic tract (DSTT), consisting primarily of lamina I neurons, was confirmed in the cat lumbar spinal cord by the use of thalamic injections of fluorescent dyes combined with selective thoracic spinal cord lesions. In addition, collateralization of spinothalamic tract (STT) terminations to medial, lateral, and intralaminar thalamic regions was investigated by injections of two different fluorescent dyes into pairs of these regions. The results of this study indicate that less than 15% of cat lumbar STT neurons collateralize to more than one of the thalamic regions evaluated. Lumbar lamina I cells project to the lateral and to the medial thalamus (13% collateralize to these two regions) and have only a scant projection to the intralaminar thalamus. Lumbar laminae IV-VI STT cells are very few in cat and demonstrate almost no collateralization to multiple thalamic areas. Neurons of laminae VII-X project equally to the three thalamic regions evaluated, and approximately 10-14% of cells from this laminar group collateralize to any two of the thalamic sites evaluated.