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J Comp Neurol. 1988 Nov 1;277(1):126-40.

Dorsal raphe serotoninergic branching neurons projecting both to the lateral geniculate body and superior colliculus: a combined retrograde tracing-immunohistochemical study in the rat.

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Department of Histology and Neurobiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Injections of HRP into the superior colliculus labelled cells in the lateral cell groups of the dorsal raphe nucleus. The cytoarchitectural features and location of these cells showed remarkable similarities with those known to project to the lateral geniculate body, and, therefore, the possible existence of branching neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus projecting to these two visual structures was tested. Injections into the lateral geniculate body and the superior colliculus of several fluorescent tracers--namely, Fast Blue, Fluoro-Gold, propidium iodide, rhodamine-B-isothiocyanate, and Diamidino Yellow, used in different combinations, showed single- and double-labelled neurons in the lateral wings of the dorsal raphe nucleus. In order to verify the chemical nature of these cells, the tissue was processed for immunofluorescence with serotonin antibodies. The results obtained showed several triple-labelled cells exhibiting two fluorescent tracers as well as 5-hydroxytryptamine-like immunoreactivity. Some immunonegative tracer-positive cells were also observed, suggesting their nonserotoninergic nature. Finally, electrolytic lesions of the lateral wings of the dorsal raphe nucleus caused a gradual disappearance of serotonin-immunoreactive fibers in these visual areas following different survival times. This correlated well with a decrease in the serotonin content studied by high-pressure liquid chromatography. These results support a role of the serotoninergic dorsal raphe projection to the lateral geniculate body and to the superior colliculus in the processing of visual information, and they suggest that serotonin may have a coordinating influence on primary visual centers.

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