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Brain Res. 1977 Feb 18;122(2):229-42.

Habenular and other midbrain raphe afferents demonstrated by a modified retrograde tracing technique.


Afferents to th midbrain dorsal and median raphe nuclei in the rat were studied by means of the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) retrograde transport method. The HRP was given by means of a modified iontophoretic delivery technique. This technique permitted an efficient and localized deposition of a high concentration of HRP into the raphe nuclei. Afferents to the raphe as determined by this method could be categorized into 2 classes; those exclusively to the raphe and those also positive for adjacent reticular formation. The most striking afferent area to the raphe, both in terms of selectivity and density, was the lateral habenula. This result is in accord with previous studies using degeneration methods which indicate an habenular projection to the raphe area. There were afferents exclusively positive for the dorsal raphe nucleus emanating from the nucleus of the solitary tract. Most other raphe afferent areas were also positive for the reticular formation (e.g;, prefrontal cortex, medial forebrain bundle, preoptic nuclei, and reticular formation). The existence of a major afferent system from the lateral habenula to the midbrain raphe is consistent with the concept of a "dorsal pathway" which might be responsible for relaying information from forebrain limbic structures to the "midbrain limbic areas".

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