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A direct comparison of afferents to the rat anterior thalamic nuclei and nucleus reuniens: overlapping but different

Mathiasen, Mathias L., Nelson, Andrew J.D. ORCID:, Amin, Eman, O’Mara, Shane M. and Aggleton, John P. ORCID: 2021. A direct comparison of afferents to the rat anterior thalamic nuclei and nucleus reuniens: overlapping but different. eNeuro 8 (5) , 103. 10.1523/ENEURO.0103-20.2021

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Both nucleus reuniens and the anterior thalamic nuclei are densely interconnected with medial cortical and hippocampal areas, connections that reflect their respective contributions to learning and memory. To better appreciate their comparative roles, pairs of different retrograde tracers were placed in these two thalamic sites in adult rats. Both thalamic sites receive modest cortical inputs from layer V that contrasted with much denser projections from layer VI. Despite frequent overlap in layer VI, ventral prefrontal and anterior cingulate inputs to nucleus reuniens were concentrated in the deepest sublayer (VIb). Meanwhile, inputs to the anterior thalamic nuclei originated more evenly from both sublayers VIa and VIb, with the result that they were often located more superficially than the projections to nucleus reuniens. Again, while the many hippocampal (subiculum) neurons projecting to nucleus reuniens and the anterior thalamic nuclei were partially intermingled within the deep cellular parts of the subiculum, cells projecting to nucleus reuniens consistently tended to lie even deeper, i.e., immediately adjacent to the alveus. Variable numbers of double-labelled cells were present in those cortical and subicular portions where the two cell populations intermingled, though they remained in a minority. Our data also show how projections to these two thalamic sites are organized in opposing dorsal/ventral and rostral/caudal gradients across both the cortex and hippocampal formation. While the anterior thalamic nuclei are preferentially innervated by dorsal cortical sites, more ventral frontal sites preferentially reach nucleus reuniens. These anatomical differences may underpin the complementary cognitive functions of these two thalamic areas.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 2373-2822
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 12 July 2021
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2023 23:44

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