Afferent connections of the habenular nuclei in the rat. A horseradish peroxidase study, with a note on the fiber-of-passage problem

Authors

  • Miles Herkenham,

    1. Department of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
    Current affiliation:
    1. Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mentel Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20014
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  • Walle J. H. Nauta

    1. Department of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
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  • Supported by PHS Grants NS 06542 and MH 25515 and NIH Fellowship NS 02101.

Abstract

The afferent connections of the habenular complex in the rat were examined by injecting horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into discrete portions of the habenular nuclei by microelectrophoresis.

1. HRP deposits confined to the lateral half of the lateral habenular nucleus labeled a multitude of cells in the entopeduncular nucleus. Numerous labeled cells also appeared in such cases in the lateral hypothalamus, indicating that the lateral habenular nucleus is a major convergence point of projections from these otherwise.

2. HRP injected into the medial part of the lateral habenular nucleus labeled cells in the same regions, but more in the diagonal band and fewer in the entopeduncular nucleus than were labeled by more lateral injections. The contrast suggests that the projections from the basal forebrain and entopeduncular nucleus to the lateral habenular nucleus are somewhat topographically organized.

3. Injections of the medial habenular nucleus labeled an abundance of cells in the posterior parts of the supracommissural septum, but also a small number of cells in the diagonal band and mesencephalic raphe.

4. HRP injected into the stria medullaris labeled cells in all of the afore-mentioned areas and, in addition, cells in several olfactory structures, confirming that HRP may be taken up by fibers of passage and label their cells of origin, and suggesting that olfactory structures contribute fibers to the stria medullaris that do not terminate in the habenula.

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