The central distributions of gustatory and nongustatory branches of cranial nerves V, VII, IX, and X were examined after application of horseradish peroxidase to the cut nerve. The nerves conveying gustatory information, chorda tympani (CT), greater superficial petrosal (GSP), lingualtonsilar branch of IX (LT‐IX), superior laryngeal branch of X (SL), distributed primarily to the lateral division of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NST) from its rostral pole to the obex. The CT and GSP distributions were coextensive and terminated most densely in the rostral pole of NST. The LT‐IX distribution concentrated between this major CT/GSP distribution and the area postrema with a caudal extension into the interstitial nucleus of NST. This nerve also had a substantial projection, not found in other gustatory nerves, into the dorsolateral aspect of the medial NST. The SL distribution overlapped LT‐IX in the caudal medulla. The lingual and inferior alveolar nerves, two oral trigeminal branches, projected to regions of NST innervated by the gustatory nerves. The cervical vagus nerve distributed primarily to the medial NST in the caudal half of the nucleus and exhibited only minimal overlap with gustatory nerve distributions. The nucleus of the solitary tract appears to have two major functional divisions–an anterior‐lateral oral‐gustatory half, and a posterior‐medial visceral afferent half.
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