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Neuroscience. 2005;135(1):155-79.

The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the Syrian hamster: subnuclei and connections of the posterior division.

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1
Department of Cell and Neurobiology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

Abstract

The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is a key part of a ring of cells extending between the centromedial amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis referred to as the extended amygdala. The present study describes the architecture of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the connections of subnuclei in posterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. The hamster bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is readily allotted to anterior and posterior divisions separated by the fibers of the body of the anterior commissure. The anterior division has four subnuclei: anteromedial, anterointermediate, anterolateral, and anteroventral. Within the posterior division, there are three distinct regions: posteromedial, posterointermediate, and posterolateral. In hamsters, the posterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis contributes to male sexual behavior, particularly chemoinvestigation. Moreover, the posterior bed nucleus of the stria terminalis is part of a neural circuit essential for mating, including the medial amygdaloid nucleus and medial preoptic area. The connections of bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posteromedial part, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterointermediate part and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterolateral part were visualized by co-injection of anterograde (Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin) and retrograde (cholera toxin B) tract tracers. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterointermediate part and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posteromedial part have dense bidirectional connections with medial amygdaloid nucleus and cortical amygdala via the stria terminalis and ventral amygdalofugal pathway. These subnuclei also maintain bidirectional connections with steroid-concentrating areas including lateral septum, medial preoptic area, hypothalamus, and periaqueductal gray. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterointermediate part and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posteromedial part receive projections from the subiculum and send projections to deep mesencephalic nuclei. By contrast, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterolateral part is connected with the central amygdala, lateral hypothalamus, subthalamic nucleus, nucleus accumbens, substantia innominata, substantia nigra and thalamus. Thus, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterointermediate part and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posteromedial part have similar connections with areas involved in social behaviors. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, posterolateral part maintains connections with areas involved in motivational circuits. This supports the concept of distinct circuits within the extended amygdala which differentially link the centromedial amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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