The caudomedial shell of the rat nucleus accumbens exhibits inhomogeneous distribution patterns of the vesicular glutamate transporters 1 (VGLUT1) and 2 (VGLUT2). This paper focuses on the question of whether patterns of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 correspond to cytoarchitectonically and cytochemically defined subterritories of the caudomedial shell region. VGLUT2 was shown to be coexpressed with calretinin in the dense axonal plexus known to emanate from the paraventricular thalamic nucleus. In regions termed corridors, which are spared by this paraventricular thalamic innervation, axonal terminals were found to be clustered and VGLUT1-immunoreactive. It is assumed that these fibers originate in the prelimbic cortex and/or in the parvicellular basal amygdaloid nucleus known to project to accumbal shell components. Our findings confirm the existence of two well-separated neuronal circuits in the caudomedial shell that are dominated by two different excitatory input systems originating from either thalamic, cortical, or cortex-like amygdaloid sources. The large lateral corridors-which resemble the accumbal core not only in respect to their VGLUT1 immunolabeling but also concerning their content of calbindin-positive cells-may represent a component of the anatomically weakly defined accumbal shore region.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.