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Abstract

The projections of neurons in the nucleus locus coeruleus (LC) of the rat were traced by radioautography following stereotaxic injections of 3H-proline. An ascending bundle consisting of a dense cluster of labeled axons accompanied the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) into the lateral hypothalamus. Rostral to the anterior commissure, the labeled fibers contributed to other major pathways: the stria terminalis to the amygdala, and the cingulum bundle and the supracallosal stria to the cingulate cortex, subiculum, and hippocampus. The rest of the ascending fibers terminated diffusely in the pyriform cortex and frontal neocortex. In addition, a lateral group of labeled fibers entered the cerebellum through the superior cerebellar peduncle and terminated around the Purkinje cell somata and in the molecular layer. Descending fibers which entered the medulla either terminated around brainstem nuclei or passed into the ventral portion of the spinal cord. In all areas except the brainstem, the labeling was unilateral with respect to the injection site. This distribution of label from LC provides direct confirmation for connections which have been difficult to visualize in their entirety by any other histological or cytochemical method.