The relationship between neuron morphology and function is a perennial issue in neuroscience. Information about synaptic integration, network connectivity, and the specific roles of neuronal subpopulations can be obtained through morphological analysis of key neurons within a microcircuit. Here we present morphologies of two classes of brainstem respiratory neurons. First, interneurons derived from Dbx1-expressing precursors (Dbx1 neurons) in the preBotzinger complex (preBotC) of the ventral medulla that generate the rhythm for inspiratory breathing movements. Second, Dbx1 neurons of the intermediate reticular formation that influence the motor pattern of pharyngeal and lingual movements during the inspiratory phase of the breathing cycle. We describe the image acquisition and subsequent digitization of morphologies of respiratory Dbx1 neurons from the preBotC and the intermediate reticular formation that were first recorded in vitro. These data can be analyzed comparatively to examine how morphology influences the roles of Dbx1 preBotC and Dbx1 reticular interneurons in respiration and can also be utilized to create morphologically accurate compartmental models for simulation and modeling of respiratory circuits.
Akins, Victoria T.; Weragalaarachchi, Krishanthi; Picardo, Maria Cristina D.; Revill, Ann L.; and Del Negro, Christopher A., Morphology of Dbx1 respiratory neurons in the preBotzinger complex and reticular formation of neonatal mice (2017). SCIENTIFIC DATA, 4.