The dorsal ventricular ridge (DVR) is a subcortical, telencephalic structure in reptiles and birds that protrudes into the lateral ventricle. The structure of DVR has been studied in the red-eared turtle (Pseudemys scripta elegans) in Nissl and Golgi preparations. The DVR in Pseudemys is divided into the anterior dorsal ventricular ridge (ADVR) and the basal dorsal ventricular ridge (BDVR) by the dorsal branch of the middle ventricular sulcus. The structure of ADVR has been examined in detail.

The ADVR is divided into four regions with distinct boundaries termed dorsal area, medial area, ventral area and central area. Dorsal area, medial area and ventral area border on the lateral ventricle; central area lies deep to the other areas. Three classes of neurons are found in Golgi preparations of ADVR. Juxtaependymal cells have somata near the perikarya of ependymal cells; their dendrites are found primarily in a periventricular fiber zone. Aspiny neurons were observed only in the dorsal half of ADVR and appear to be restricted to deep regions of the ridge. These multipolar neurons are rarely encountered in Golgi preparations, and the observed distribution may not represent their actual distribution in ADVR. The majority of the cells observed in ADVR are spiny neurons with dendritic fields that range from stellate to double-pyramidal. Cells in this class may be subdivided on the basis of axonal morphology into at least two groups, but further studies are needed to determine the range of axonal morphology exhibited by these neurons.

An analysis of the distribution of these cell types in Golgi material shows that dorsal area, medial area and ventral area are organized in four zones concentric with the ventricular surface. Central area apparently lacks a concentric pattern of organization. Zone 1 is a periventricular fiber band that contains juxtaependymal neurons and ascending dendrites of zone 2 spiny neurons, and it may serve as a structural substrate for segregated input onto these cell populations. Zone 2 contains clusters of spiny neurons with apposed somata, which vary in size and distribution between areas. Dendrites of zone 4 neurons are also found in the deep half of zone 2. Zone 3 is a cell-poor region which lies at the center of a region of overlapping dendritic fields of zone 2 and zone 4 neurons. Zone 4 contains predominantly spiny neurons (aspiny neurons are found only in the dorsal half of ADVR) which are either isolated or in small clusters with apposed somata. Dendrites of zone 2 cells extend superficially into zone 4, so that the deep portions of zone 4 may be a substrate for segregated input to zone 4 neurons. These zones are differentially elaborated in each area. Central area, by contrast, consists of scattered spiny and aspiny neurons among fibers connecting ADVR and the lateral forebrain bundle.

A comparison of these findings with the ADVR of snakes (Ulinski, '78a,b) shows both similarities and differences in DVR organization in the two taxa. Although snakes lack areal divisions, ADVR is organized in four concentric zones (zones A-D). Zones A and B resemble zones 1 and 2 in turtles, consisting of a superficial fiber zone and a subjacent cell cluster zone. The clusters are smaller in snakes than in turtles. However, snakes lack a cell-poor band deep to zone B, and dendrites of cells in zone C enter zone A. Thus, there are differences in both areal and zonal dimensions of ADVR organization in turtles and snakes.