The localization and relative number of serotonergic (5HT) cell bodies in the brainstem of the cat were studied through the use of a specific immunocytochemical technique. A surprisingly large number of 5HT cells were found in regions in addition to the classical raphe nuclei (obscurus, pallidus, magnus, centralis superior, and dorsalis). Foremost among these were: the ventral medulla, just dorsal to the pyramidal tract and inferior olivary complex, and especially the area in and around the lateral reticular nucleus; the dorsal pons, surrounding the central reticular core, and in the central gray area; and a region in the mesencephalon, in and around the interpeduncular nucleus. The advantages and disadvantages of the existing schemas for subdividing and labeling groups of brain 5HT neurons are discussed.
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