Y.C. van Dongen
Y. Galis-de Graaf
- Anatomical evidence for direct connections between the shell and core subregions of the rat nucleus accumbens
- Volume | Issue number
- 136 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
The nucleus accumbens is thought to subserve different aspects of adaptive and emotional behaviors. The anatomical substrates for such actions are multiple, parallel ventral striatopallidal output circuits originating in the nucleus accumbens shell and core subregions. Several indirect ways of interaction between the two subregions and their associated circuitry have been proposed, in particular through striato-pallido-thalamic and dopaminergic pathways. In this study, using anterograde neuroanatomical tracing with Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin and biotinylated dextran amine as well as single-cell juxtacellular filling with neurobiotin, we investigated the intra-accumbens distribution of local axon collaterals for the identification of possible direct connections between the shell and core subregions.
Our results show widespread intra-accumbens projection patterns, including reciprocal projections between specific parts of the shell and core. However, fibers originating in the core reach more distant areas of the shell, including the rostral pole (i.e. the calbindin-poor part of the shell anterior to the core) and striatal parts of the olfactory tubercle, than those arising in the shell and projecting to the core. The latter projections are more restricted to the border region between the shell and core. The density of the fiber labeling within both the shell and core was very similar. Moreover, specific intrinsic projections within shell and core were identified, including a relatively strong projection from the rostral pole to the rostral shell, reciprocal projections between the rostral and caudal shell, as well as projections within the core that have a caudal-to-rostral predominance. The results of the juxtacellular filling experiments show that medium-sized spiny projection neurons and medium-sized aspiny neurons (most likely fast-spiking) contribute to these intra-accumbens projections. While such neurons are GABAergic, the intrastriatal projection patterns indicate the existence of lateral inhibitory interactions within, as well as between, shell and core subregions of the nucleus accumbens.
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