Synaptic Convergence of Hippocampal and Prefrontal Cortical Afferents to the Ventral Striatum in Rat
The ventral striatum (VST), which includes the nucleus accumbens, is a heterogeneous and complex structure by nature of its cytoarchitectonic and (immuno)histochemical compartmentalisation, the differential connectivity related to these compartments and the great variety of functions in which it appears to be involved. Afferents from limbic-related areas, including the hippocampal formation (Groenewegen et al., 1987), the amygdala (McDonald, 1991; Wright et al., 1996) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC, Berendse et al., 1992; Sesack et al., 1989) innervate specific subregions of the central `core’ and peripheral `shell’ of the VST in intricate overlapping and non-overlapping patterns (Pennartz et al., 1994). Even dopaminergic afferents from the ventral tegmental area, which reach all VST regions, are not uniformly distributed (Voorn et al., 1986). These VST afferents and its projections to the motor-related ventral pallidum (Mogenson et al., 1983; Groenewegen & Russchen, 1984) and substantia nigra (Meredith et al., 1992, Deniau et al., 1994), led to the concept of a limbic-motor interface (Mogenson et al., 1980). Whereas at the light microscopic level a great deal of knowledge is available on the inter-relationships between different inputs and the VST outputs, the ultrastructural details of the organisation of the synaptic relationships between different (excitatory) afferents onto output neurons have rarely been investigated.
KeywordsNucleus Accumbens Ventral Tegmental Area Ventral Striatum Distal Dendrite Local Circuit Neuron
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