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Abstract

By means of sensitive and specific methods for histochemical and biochemical determination of dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) we have succeeded in demonstrating and mapping out a number of ascending monoamine neuron systems from the lower brain stem by studying the anterograde and retrograde changes that occur in these neurons after various types of brain lesions. In this way it has been possible to discover: 1) a large, uncrossed nigro-neostriatal DA neuron system; 2) a DA neuron system, arising from cell-bodies in the mesen-cephalon, ascending uncrossed in the medial forebrain bundle close to the nigro-neostriatal DA fibres, and innervating e.g. the tuberculum olfactorium and nuc. accumbens; 3) ascending NA neuron systems with cell-bodies situated mainly in the medulla oblongata and pons (locus coeruleus, formatio reticularis), and axons running uncrossed mainly in the medial forebrain bundle, innervating e.g. the limbic forebrain structures, the neocortex and the hypothalamus; 4) ascending 5-HT' neurons with cell-bodies situated mainly in the raphe nuclei of the mesencephalon (nuc. raphe dorsalis, nuc. raphe medianus), and axons running uncrossed mainly in the medial forebrain bundle, innervating e.g. the limbic forebrain structures and the hypothalamus. The effects observed on the amine levels of the neurons represent intraneuronal and not transsynaptic changes.