Cell-type specific parallel circuits in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the central nucleus of the amygdala of the mouse

  • Jiahao YeEmail author
  • Pierre VeinanteEmail author
Original Article


The central extended amygdala (EAc) is a forebrain macrosystem which has been widely implicated in reward, fear, anxiety, and pain. Its two key structures, the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTL) and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), share similar mesoscale connectivity. However, it is not known whether they also share similar cell-specific neuronal circuits. We addressed this question using tract-tracing and immunofluorescence to reveal the EAc microcircuits involving two neuronal populations expressing either protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) or somatostatin (SOM). PKCδ and SOM are expressed predominantly in the dorsal BSTL (BSTLD) and in the lateral/capsular parts of CeA (CeL/C). We found that, in both BSTLD and CeL/C, PKCδ+ cells are the main recipient of extra-EAc inputs from the lateral parabrachial nucleus (LPB), while SOM+ cells constitute the main source of long-range projections to extra-EAc targets, including LPB and periaqueductal gray. PKCδ+ cells can also integrate inputs from the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala or insular cortex. Within EAc, PKCδ+, but not SOM+ neurons, serve as the major source of inputs to the ventral BSTL and to the medial part of CeA. However, both cell types can be involved in mutual connections between BSTLD and CeL/C. These results unveil the pivotal positions of PKCδ+ and SOM+ neurons in organizing parallel cell-specific neuronal circuits within CeA and BSTL, but also between them, which further reinforce the notion of EAc as a structural and functional macrosystem.


Central extended amygdala Protein kinase C delta type Somatostatin Neuronal tracing Microcircuit 



Anterior commissure


Amygdalostriatal transition area


Biotin dextran amine, 10000 MW


Basolateral nucleus of the amygdala


Basolateral nucleus of the amygdala, anterior


Basolateral nucleus of the amygdala, posterior


Basomedial nucleus of the amygdala, posterior


Combined catalyzed reporter deposition


Central nucleus of the amygdala


Central nucleus of the amygdala, capsular part


Central nucleus of the amygdala, lateral part


Central nucleus of the amygdala, lateral and capsular part


Central nucleus of the amygdala, medial part


Calcitonin gene-related peptide


Calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor


Caudate putamen


Corticotropin-releasing factor


Commissural stria terminalis


Cholera toxin B subunit


Dopamine receptor D2


4′,6-Diamidino-2-Phenylindole, Dihydrochloride


Dorsomedial periaqueductal gray


Dorsal raphe nucleus


Central extended amygdala






Fusiform nucleus


Granular and dysgranular insular cortex


Globus pallidus


Serotonin receptor 2a


Intraperitoneal injection


Insular cortex


Keyhole limpet hemocyanin


Lateral nucleus of the amygdala, ventromedial


Lateral periaqueductal gray


Lateral parabrachial nucleus


External lateral parabrachial nucleus


Medial parabrachial nucleus


Neuropeptide Y


Periaqueductal gray


Phosphate buffer


Phosphate-buffered saline


Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin


Piriform cortex


Protein kinase C, delta type


Phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 1B


R-spondin 2


Subcutaneous injection


Secondary somatosensory cortex


Superior cerebellar peduncle


Standard error of the mean




Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Dorsal lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Posterior lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Ventral lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Anterior medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Ventral medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Ventral lateral periaqueductal gray



This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (contract UPR3212), the University of Strasbourg, and the NeuroTime Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program. We thank the Chronobiotron UMS3415 for animal housing and care, and the platform “in vivo imaging” at UPS3156. We thank Dr. Paul Klosen for the helpful advices in CARD method and Dr. Alessandro Bilella for the help in using NanoZoomer S60 platform.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Informed consent

No human subject was used in this study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UPR3212, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et IntégrativesUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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