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The dopaminergic mesencephalic projections to the hippocampal formation in the rat.

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Department of Sciences and Biomedical Technologies, University of L'Aquila, Italy.


1. The dopaminergic mesencephalic neurons projecting to the hippocampal formation are distributed in three cell groups: A8 region in the retrorubral field, A9 region in the substantia nigra and A10 region in the ventral tegmental area. 2. Anterograde and retrograde tract-tracing techniques combined with immunohistochemical procedures indicate a topographical organization of mesencephalic dopaminergic projections towards the hippocampal formation. 3. Electrophysiological evidence suggest that dopaminergic mesencephalic neurons could have a regulatory role in suppressing hippocampal excitability. 4. The functional significance of the mesohippocampal dopaminergic system is largely unknown, although it was suggested that this projection could have a role in methamphetamine-produced hypermotility and in modulation of memory processes.

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