JOURNAL ARTICLE

Afferent projections to the cholinergic pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and adjacent midbrain extrapyramidal area in the albino rat. I. Retrograde tracing studies

T L Steininger, D B Rye, B H Wainer
Journal of Comparative Neurology 1992 July 22, 321 (4): 515-43
1380518
The afferent connections of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) and the adjacent midbrain extrapyramidal area (MEA) were examined by retrograde tracing with wheat germ agglutinin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP). Major afferents to the PPT originate in the periaqueductal gray, central tegmental field, lateral hypothalamic area, dorsal raphe nucleus, superior colliculus, and pontine and medullary reticular fields. Other putative inputs originate in the paraventricular and preoptic hypothalamic nuclei, the zona incerta, nucleus of the solitary tract, central superior raphe nucleus, substantia innominata, posterior hypothalamic area, and thalamic parafascicular nucleus. The major afferent to the medially adjacent MEA originates in the lateral habenula, while other putative afferents include the perifornical and lateral hypothalamic area, periaqueductal gray, superior colliculus, pontine reticular formation, and dorsal raphe nucleus. MEA inputs from basal ganglia nuclei include moderate projections from the substantia nigra pars reticulata, entopeduncular nucleus, and a small projection from the globus pallidus, but not the subthalamic nucleus. Dense anterograde labeling was observed in the substantia nigra pars compacta, entopeduncular nucleus, subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus, and caudate-putamen only following WGA-HRP injections involving the MEA. The results of this study demonstrate that the PPT and MEA share many potential afferents. Remarkable differences were found that support distinguishing between these two nuclei in future studies regarding the functional organization of the midbrain and pons. The results, for example, confirm our previous observations that the largely reciprocal connections between the midbrain and basal ganglia distinguish the MEA from the PPT. Afferents from the lateral habenula and contralateral superior colliculus represent extensions of more traditional basal ganglion circuitry which further delineate the MEA from the PPT. The results are discussed with respect to the important role of the midbrain and pons in behavioral state control and locomotor mechanisms.

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