Amygdaloid projections to the mesencephalon, pons and medulla oblongata in the cat

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Hopkins DA and Holstege G (1978) Amygdaloid projections to the mesencephalon, pons and medulla oblongata in the cat. Exp Brain Res 32:4 529–47.

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Abstract: Amygdalotegmental projections were studied in 26 cats after injections of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the diencephalon, midbrain and lower brain stem and in 6 cats after injection of 3H-leucine in the amygdala. Following HRP injections in the posterior hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray (PAG) and tegmentum many retrogradely labeled neurons were present in the central nucleus (CE) of the amygdala, primarily ipsilaterally. Injections of HRP in the posterior hypothalamus and mesencephalon also resulted in the labeling of neurons in the basal nucleus, pars magnocellularis. Following 3H-leucine injections in CE and adjacent structures autoradiographically labeled fibers were present in the stria terminalis and ventral amygdalofugal pathways. In the mesencephalon heavily labeled fiber bundles were located lateral to the red nucleus. Labeled fibers and terminals were distributed to the mesencephalic reticular formation, substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area and PAG. In the pontine and medullary tegmentum the bulk of passing fibers was located laterally in the reticular formation. Many labeled fibers and terminals were distributed to the parabrachial nuclei, locus coeruleus, nucleus subcoeruleus and lateral tegmental fields. Many terminals were also present in the solitary nucleus and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve. The location of the cells of origin and the distribution of the terminals of the amygdalotegmental projection suggest that this pathway plays an important role in the integration of somatic and autonomic responses associated with affective defense.

Keywords: Central nucleus, Amygdala, Tegmentum, Periaqueductal gray, Vagal nuclei


  • Animal study using cat. Injection of retrograde and anterograde tracers identified projection from amygdala (central nucleus) to hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray, and tegmentum, mesencephalic reticular formation, solitary nucleus, dorsal motor nucleus of vagus, and other areas. In rat projections from medulla to limbic forebrain is studied in Zagon et al. (1994).