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Neuroscience. 1986 Nov;19(3):803-28.

Projections from the hypothalamus and its adjacent areas to the posterior pituitary in the rat.


Cholera toxin conjugated horseradish peroxidase was injected into the posterior pituitary and its afferents traced in 21 albino rats. The neuronal processes as well as the perikarya were elaborately displayed. The principal and retrochiasmatic supraoptic nuclei and the magnocellular paraventricular subnuclei were densely labelled. The accessory cell groups or nuclei labelled included: the medial preoptic and anterior hypothalamic areas, the anterior and posterior fornical nuclei, the lateral hypothalamic area, the nucleus circularis and nucleus of the forebrain bundle and hitherto unknown or not fully appreciated retrochiasmatic area, the dorsal accessory groups in an area between the stria medullaris and fornix, on the one hand, and the stria terminalis and internal capsule, on the other, and a well developed subependymalperiventricular zone. The medial preoptic nucleus, subfornical organ and organ vasculosum laminae terminalis were also weakly stained. Dendrites of the magnocellular paraventricular nucleus have been said by some to be largely confined to the subnuclei in which they lie. Immunohistochemical studies have proved that they extended beyond their nuclear confinement. The present study has found much wider extension of their dendritic fields. In fact, dendrites of the magnocellular neurosecretory cells in general were long and had a certain degree of directional bias. Several sites projecting to the posterior pituitary were closely related to the cerebrospinal fluid. Namely, the subependymal neuronal plexuses along the third ventricle and beneath the interventricular foramen, and the subpial dendritic plexuses of the supraoptic and retrochiasmatic supraoptic nuclei. Neurons were seen to squeeze in-between the ependymal cells, bringing themselves very close to the cerebrospinal fluid. No direct cerebrospinal fluid-contacting elements, either cell bodies or processes, however, could be ascertained. It is proposed that these plexuses may monitor changes in the cerebrospinal fluid. Besides the principal neurohypophysial tract the posterior pituitary was found in the present study to receive its afferents via two accessory fasciculi, one coursing in the medial forebrain bundle and the other running along the lateral wall of the infundibular recess subependymally.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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