Parvocellular subparafascicular thalamic nucleus in the rat: anatomical and functional compartmentalization.
SourceJournal of Comparative Neurology, 463, 2, (2003), pp. 117-31
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Comparative Neurology
SubjectUMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences
The parvocellular subparafascicular thalamic nucleus (SPFp) is located in the posterior thalamus, consists of horizontally oriented cells, and extends from rostromedial to caudolateral, fusing with the posterior intralaminar nucleus and the peripeduncular nucleus. The present study demonstrates a chemoarchitechtonic and functional parcellation of the rat SPFp. Analysis of the distributions of the neuropeptides galanin, calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), substance P, and calbindin revealed the existence of a medial and lateral subdivision within SPFp, and a possible intermediate subdivision. The medial subdivision contains a dense population of galanin-immunoreactive fibers, originating from galanin neurons in the lumbosacral spinal cord. In contrast, the lateral subdivision contains CGRP-positive fibers and neurons. The presence of substance P and calbindin immunoreactivity throughout the entire nucleus suggests that these are separate subdivisions of SPFp, rather than different subnuclei. The present study also investigated the functional association of the separate subdivisions of SPFp for male and female rat sexual behavior. In the medial subdivision, Fos-positive neurons were activated in males by display of ejaculation and in females by vaginocervical stimulation. Thus, Fos induction in medial SPFp appears to reflect processing of inputs related to those events. In contrast, sexual behavior did not induce Fos in the lateral SPFp. Taken together, the present results indicate the existence of separate subdivisions in SPFp that are involved in different behavioral functions. The medial SPFp may process inputs important for sexual behavior, whereas the lateral SPFp may be involved in convergence of auditory and nociceptive inputs important for conditioned fear responses.
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