In an attempt to gain insight into the organization and evolution of the basal forebrain, the region was analysed cytoarchitecturally, chemoarchitecturally, and hodologically in a lower placental mammal, the lesser hedgehog tenrec. Particular emphasis was laid on the subdivision of the olfactory tubercle, the nuclear complex of the diagonal band, and the cortical amygdala. The proper tubercule and the rostrolateral tubercular seam differed from each other with regard to their immunoreactivity to calbindin and calretinin, as well as their afferents from the piriform cortex. Interestingly, the tubercular seam showed similar properties to the dwarf cell compartment, located immediately adjacent to the islands of Calleja. The most prominent input to the olfactory bulb (OfB) originated from the diagonal nuclear complex. This projection was ipsilateral, whereas the bulbar afferents from the hypothalamus and the mesopontine tegmentum were bilateral. The amygdala projected only sparsely to the OfB, but received a prominent bulbar projection. An exception was the nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract, which was poorly connected with the OfB. Unlike other species with an accessory OfB, the projections from the tenrec's main OfB did not show a topographic organization upon the lateral and medial olfactory amygdala. However, there was an accessory amygdala, which could be differentiated from the lateral nuclei by its intense reaction to NADPh-diaphorase. This reaction was poor in the diagonal nuclear complex as in monkey but unlike in rat. The variability of cell populations and olfactory bulb connections shown here may help to clarify both phylogenetic relationships and the significance of individual basal telencephalic subdivisions.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.