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Cortical projections of the anterior thalamic nuclei in the cat

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Unilateral stereotaxic lesions were made in the anterior thalamic nuclei of the cat, and the ensuing terminal degeneration traced to the medial cortex by the methods of Nauta-Gygax and Fink-Heimer. The anterodorsal nucleus projects to the retrosplenial, postsubicular and presubicular areas. These projections appear to be organized in the dorsoventral direction. The posterior portion of the retrosplenial area receives no fibers from the anterodorsal nucleus. Fibers from this nucleus are distributed largely in layer I and in layer III and the deep portion of layer II of the posterior limbic cortex. The anteroventral nucleus sends fibers to the cingular area and parts of the retrosplenial, postsubicular and presubicular areas. These projections appear to be organized in a topical manner mediolaterally. When the lesion involves the parvocellular part of the nucleus, degeneration spreads to the lower lip, bank and fundus of the splenial sulcus. There appears to be an anteroposterior organization in the cortical projections of the anteroventral nucleus. Fibers from the anteroventral nucleus are distributed most profusely in layers IV and III and in the superficial portion of layer I of the posterior limbic cortex. The anteromedial nucleus sends fine fibers to the anterior limbic region and to the cingular, retrosplenial, postsubicular and presubicular areas. The cortical projections of the anteromedial nucleus appear to be topographically organized in the dorsoventral direction. Fibers from the anteromedial nucleus are distributed largely in cortical layers V and VI of the anterior and posterior limbic regions.

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anterodorsal nucleus


anteromedial nucleus


dorsolateral part of anteromedial nucleus


ventromedial part of anteromedial nucleus


anteroventral nucleus


magnocellular part of anteroventral nucleus


parvocellular part of anteroventral nucleus


corpus callosum


cingular area


medial central nucleus


infralimbic area


anterior limbic region


dorsal lateral nucleus


dorsal medial nucleus


orbitofrontal region




presubicular area


precentral agranular area


postsubicular area


paratenial nucleus


anterior paraventricular nucleus


reuniens nucleus


retrosplenial area


thalamic reticular nucleus


cruciate sulcus


stria medullaris


submedial nucleus


splenial sulcus


ventral anterior nucleus


ventral lateral nucleus


ventral medial nucleus


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Niimi, M. Cortical projections of the anterior thalamic nuclei in the cat. Exp Brain Res 31, 403–416 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00237298

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Key words

  • Anterior thalamic nuclei
  • Limbic cortex