Afferent connections of the parvocellular subparafascicular thalamic nucleus in the rat: evidence for functional subdivisions.
SourceJournal of Comparative Neurology, 463, 2, (2003), pp. 132-56
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Comparative Neurology
SubjectUMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences
The parvocellular subparafascicular nucleus of the thalamus (SPFp) consists of separate subdivisions, i.e., a medial portion containing galanin-immunoreactive (-IR) axons and a lateral portion containing calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP)-IR neurons and fibers. These subdivisions appear to have distinct functional roles. In particular, ejaculation-induced Fos expression is expressed in the medial SPFp. Hence, it was hypothesized that medial SPFp is involved in relay of copulation-related information. In contrast, lateral SPFp is involved in the processing of auditory and visual signals involved in fear-conditioned responses. Here we tested the hypothesis that medial and lateral subdivisions of SPFp receive different sets of afferents and that these differences contribute to the separate functional roles of the two subdivisions. Inputs to medial and lateral SPFp were identified following injections of FG restricted to either division in male rats. The medial SPFp receives unique inputs from lumbar spinothalamic cells and brain regions involved in processing of visceral stimuli, supporting the hypothesis that the medial SPFp is involved in the relay of genitosensory information critical for the expression of male sexual behavior. The afferents of the lateral SPFp include brain regions involved in processing of visual and auditory signals and support a role for this subdivision in relay of visual and auditory information. Thus, the two subdivisions of SPFp are anatomically and functionally distinctive.
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