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J Comp Neurol. 1990 Mar 8;293(2):282-98.

Topographic organization of the ventral striatal efferent projections in the rhesus monkey: an anterograde tracing study.

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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


The ventral striatum is considered to be that portion of the striatum associated with the limbic system by virtue of its afferent connections from allocortical and mesolimbic areas as well as from the amygdala. The efferent projections from this striatal region in the primate were traced by using 3H amino acids and Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHA-L). Particular attention was paid to the topographic organization of terminal fields in the globus pallidus and substantia nigra, the projections to non-extrapyramidal areas, the relationship between projections from the nucleus accumbens and the other parts of the ventral striatum, and the comparison between ventral and dorsal striatal projections. This study demonstrates that in monkeys a circumscribed region of the globus pallidus receives topographically organized efferent fibers from the ventral striatum. The ventral striatal fibers terminate in the ventral pallidum, the subcommissural part of the globus pallidus, the rostral pole of the external segment, and the rostromedial portion of the internal segment. The more central and caudal portions of the globus pallidus do not receive this input. This striatal output appears to remain segregated from the dorsal striatal efferent projections to pallidal structures. Fibers from the ventral striatum projecting to the substantia nigra are not as confined to a specific region as those projecting to the globus pallidus. Although the densest terminal fields occur in the medial portion, numerous fibers also extend laterally to innervate the dorsal stratum of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra and the retrorubral area. Furthermore, they project throughout the rostral-caudal extent of the substantia nigra. Projections from the medial part of the ventral striatum reach the more caudally located pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. Thus unlike the above described terminals in the globus pallidus, the ventral striatum project widely throughout the substantia nigra, a fact that indicates that they may contribute to the integration between limbic and other output systems of the striatum. Finally, the ventral striatum projects to non-extrapyramidal regions including the bed nucleus of the stria terminals, the nucleus basalis magnocellularis, the lateral hypothalamus, and the medial thalamus.

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