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Keywords:

  • amygdala;
  • bed nucleus of the stria terminalis;
  • fluid balance;
  • hypothalamus;
  • sodium appetite

Abstract

The overall projection pattern of a tiny bed nuclei of the stria terminalis anteromedial group differentiation, the dorsomedial nucleus (BSTdm), was analyzed with the Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin anterograde pathway tracing method in rats. Many brain regions receive a relatively moderate to strong input from the BSTdm. They fall into eight general categories: humeral sensory-related (subfornical organ and median preoptic nucleus, involved in initiating drinking behavior and salt appetite), neuroendocrine system (magnocellular: oxytocin, vasopressin; parvicellular: gonadotropin-releasing hormone, somatostatin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone, corticotropin-releasing hormone), central autonomic control network (central amygdalar nucleus, BST anterolateral group, descending paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, retrochiasmatic area, ventrolateral periaqueductal gray, Barrington's nucleus), hypothalamic visceromotor pattern-generator network (five of six known components), behavior control column (ingestive: descending paraventricular nucleus; reproductive: lateral medial preoptic nucleus; defensive: anterior hypothalamic nucleus; foraging: ventral tegmental area, along with interconnected nucleus accumbens and substantia innominata), orofacial motor control (retrorubral area), thalamocortical feedback loops (paraventricular, central medial, intermediodorsal, and medial mediodorsal nuclei; nucleus reuniens), and behavioral state control (subparaventricular zone, ventrolateral preoptic nucleus, tuberomammillary nucleus, supramammillary nucleus, lateral habenula, and raphé nuclei). This pattern of axonal projections, and what little is known of its inputs suggest that the BSTdm is part of a striatopallidal differentiation involved in coordinating the homeostatic and behavioral responses associated thirst and salt appetite, although clearly it may relate them to other functions as well. The BSTdm generates the densest known inputs directly to the neuroendocrine system from any part of the cerebral hemispheres. J. Comp. Neurol. 494:75–107, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.