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J Comp Neurol. 1987 Mar 22;257(4):595-613.

A Golgi study of the monkey paraventricular nucleus: neuronal types, afferent and efferent fibers.

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Department of Anatomy, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201.


The neuronal organization of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) was examined in Golgi impregnations of adult monkey. Results showed that at least six types of neurons could be identified in the nucleus on the basis of morphological features of the somata, dendrites, and axons. Four types of neurons with sparse to densely spined cell bodies and dendrites exhibited long axons and included large neurons (types I and II), medium-sized to large neurons (type III), and small to medium-sized cells (type IV). Axons of type I, III, and IV neurons had different diameters and were followed out of the PVN. Axon collaterals that arborized within the PVN were seen on the axons of types III and IV cells. Two types of interneurons with small somata were also found. One (type V) exhibited varicose dendrites and a profusely arborizing local axon. The other cell (type VI) had recurved dendrites with long appendages and no impregnated axon. Afferent fibers were also identified. Type 1 was a fine-caliber axon that coursed long distances in the PVN and exhibited numerous short branches. Additional observations suggested that type 1 afferents originated from the stria terminalis. The other afferent axon (type 2) was thicker and gave rise to terminal arborizations containing clusters of small swellings. The efferent fibers of the PVN were also examined in impregnations of the paraventriculosupraopticohypophysial tract. Fibers formed an extensive plexus as they coursed ventrally and passed through the lateral hypothalamus. Axons coursing more laterally in the tract were much larger than those more medially located. Our findings show a diverse organization of neuronal types within the monkey PVN with evidence for intrinsic connections through axon collaterals of efferent neurons and the locally arborizing axons of interneurons. Correlations are proposed between morphological subtypes of neurons seen in this Golgi study and the known functional output pathways of the PVN.

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