A combined electron microscopic HRP and immunocytochemical study of the limbic projections to rat hypothalamic nuclei containing vasopressin and oxytocin neurons

B. J. Oldfield, A. Hou‐Yu, A. ‐J Silverman

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Light microscopic studies in our laboratory have indicated that the lateral septum, amygdala, and ventral subiculum project in a perinuclear fashion to the paraventricular (PVN), supraoptic (SON), and suprachiasmatic (SCN) nuclei (Oldfield et al., '82; Silverman and Oldfield, '84). In the present paper a combined anterograde HRP and immunocytochemical procedure has been used to determine the connectivity between these limbic efferents and peptide‐containing processes emanating from the above mentioned hypothalamic nuclei. Synaptic associations were found to exist between efferents from (1) the septum and both vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OX)‐positive dendrites derived from cells in the PVN and SON, (2) the septum and VP dendrites dorsal to the SCN, (3) the ventral subiculum and both VP and OX dendrites arising from the PVN and SON, and (iv) the amygdala and VP dendrites from the PVN. These observations help clarify an apparent discrepancy between electrophysiological data, in which limbic efferents have been shown to influence the activity of VP and OX neurons in the PVN ami SON, and anatomical evidence which indicates only a perinuclear innervation from these sites not encroaching on the hypothalamic nuclei themselves. In each case the synaptic connections are made on dendrites external to the nucleus: those lateral and ventrolateral to the PVN, dorsal to the SON, and dorsal or dorsolateral to the SCN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • paraventricular nucleus
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • supraoptic nucleus
  • synapses

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