Connections of the posterior nucleus of the amygdala

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Oct 8;324(2):143-79. doi: 10.1002/cne.903240203.


The connections of a relatively homogeneous band of neurons in the caudal amygdala have been examined with anterograde and retrograde axonal tracing methods in the rat. This region, called here the posterior nucleus of the amygdala (PA), corresponds in part to an area that has been referred to as the cortico-amygdaloid transition area, posterior part of the medial nucleus of the amygdala, amygdalo-hippocampal transition area, and posteromedial basal nucleus. Experiments with fluorogold and phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHAL) indicate that the major neuronal input to the PA arises in the ventral premammillary nucleus, and that substantial projections also arise in olfactory-related areas such as the medial nucleus of the amygdala, bed nucleus of the accessory olfactory tract, and posterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala, as well as in the ventral subiculum and adjacent parts of hippocampal field CA1. Other seemingly minor inputs, including cholinergic fibers from the substantia innominata, dopaminergic fibers from the ventral tegmental area, and serotoninergic fibers from the dorsal nucleus of the raphe, were also identified. The efferent projections of the PA as determined with the PHAL method appear to follow five major routes: 1) a relatively small group of laterally directed fibers innervates the dorsal endopiriform nucleus, and a few of these fibers reach cortical area TR and the lateral entorhinal area; 2) another small group of fibers courses medially to innervate the ventral subiculum and adjacent parts of field CA1; 3) many fibers course ventrally to innervate the outer molecular layer of the medial part of the posterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala; 4) a moderate group of fibers courses rostrally to innervate primarily the posterodorsal part of the medial nucleus of the amygdala, although some fibers continue on to end less densely in rostral parts of the medial nucleus of the amygdala before leaving the amygdala through the ansa peduncularis; and 5) the major output of the PA courses through the stria terminalis. One branch of this pathway massively innervates the principal nucleus of the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis before entering the medial hypothalamus, where it ends massively in the anteroventral periventricular and medial preoptic nuclei, ventrolateral part of the ventromedial nucleus and adjacent parts of the basal lateral hypothalamic area, and ventral premammillary nucleus. The other branch sends fibers to the ventral lateral septal nucleus, nucleus accumbens, olfactory tubercle, and infralimbic area of the prefrontal cortex.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Animals
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Hormones