Basic organization of projections from the oval and fusiform nuclei of the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis in adult rat brain

J Comp Neurol. 2001 Aug 6;436(4):430-55. doi: 10.1002/cne.1079.


The organization of axonal projections from the oval and fusiform nuclei of the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (BST) was characterized with the Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHAL) anterograde tracing method in adult male rats. Within the BST, the oval nucleus (BSTov) projects very densely to the fusiform nucleus (BSTfu) and also innervates the caudal anterolateral area, anterodorsal area, rhomboid nucleus, and subcommissural zone. Outside the BST, its heaviest inputs are to the caudal substantia innominata and adjacent central amygdalar nucleus, retrorubral area, and lateral parabrachial nucleus. It generates moderate inputs to the caudal nucleus accumbens, parasubthalamic nucleus, and medial and ventrolateral divisions of the periaqueductal gray, and it sends a light input to the anterior parvicellular part of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and nucleus of the solitary tract. The BSTfu displays a much more complex projection pattern. Within the BST, it densely innervates the anterodorsal area, dorsomedial nucleus, and caudal anterolateral area, and it moderately innervates the BSTov, subcommissural zone, and rhomboid nucleus. Outside the BST, the BSTfu provides dense inputs to the nucleus accumbens, caudal substantia innominata and central amygdalar nucleus, thalamic paraventricular nucleus, hypothalamic paraventricular and periventricular nuclei, hypothalamic dorsomedial nucleus, perifornical lateral hypothalamic area, and lateral tegmental nucleus. Moderately dense inputs are found in the parastrial, tuberal, dorsal raphé, and parabrachial nuclei and in the retrorubral area, ventrolateral division of the periaqueductal gray, and pontine central gray. Light projections end in the olfactory tubercle, lateral septal nucleus, posterior basolateral amygdalar nucleus, supramammillary nucleus, and nucleus of the solitary tract. These and other results suggest that the BSTov and BSTfu are basal telencephalic parts of a circuit that coordinates autonomic, neuroendocrine, and ingestive behavioral responses during stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / anatomy & histology
  • Basal Ganglia / cytology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Medial Forebrain Bundle / cytology
  • Medial Forebrain Bundle / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Septal Nuclei / anatomy & histology
  • Septal Nuclei / cytology
  • Septal Nuclei / physiology*
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants