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J Comp Neurol. 2005 Dec 19;493(3):412-38.

Projections from the subfornical region of the lateral hypothalamic area.

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Laboratory of Neuroscience, City University of São Paulo, São Paulo, 03071-000, Brazil.


The L-shaped anterior zone of the lateral hypothalamic area's subfornical region (LHAsfa) is delineated by a pontine nucleus incertus input. Functional evidence suggests that the subfornical region and nucleus incertus modulate foraging and defensive behaviors, although subfornical region connections are poorly understood. A high-resolution Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHAL) structural analysis is presented here of the LHAsfa neuron population's overall axonal projection pattern. The strongest LHAsfa targets are in the interbrain and cerebral hemisphere. The former include inputs to anterior hypothalamic nucleus, dorsomedial part of the ventromedial nucleus, and ventral region of the dorsal premammillary nucleus (defensive behavior control system components), and to lateral habenula and dorsal region of the dorsal premammillary nucleus (foraging behavior control system components). The latter include massive inputs to lateral and medial septal nuclei (septo-hippocampal system components), and inputs to bed nuclei of the stria terminalis posterior division related to the defensive behavior system, intercalated amygdalar nucleus (projecting to central amygdalar nucleus), and posterior part of the basomedial amygdalar nucleus. LHAsfa vertical and horizontal limb basic projection patterns are similar, although each preferentially innervates certain terminal fields. Lateral hypothalamic area regions immediately medial, lateral, and caudal to the LHAsfa each generate quite distinct projection patterns. Combined with previous evidence that major sources of LHAsfa neural inputs include the parabrachial nucleus (nociceptive information), defensive and foraging behavior system components, and the septo-hippocampal system, the present results suggest that the LHAsfa helps match adaptive behavioral responses (either defensive or foraging) to current internal motivational status and external environmental conditions.

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