Projections of the ventral subiculum to the amygdala, septum, and hypothalamus: a PHAL anterograde tract-tracing study in the rat

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Oct 8;324(2):180-94. doi: 10.1002/cne.903240204.


The projections of the ventral subiculum are organized differentially along the dorsoventral (or septotemporal) axis of this cortical field, with more ventral regions playing a particularly important role in hippocampal communication with the amygdala, bed nuclei of the stria terminalis (BST), and rostral hypothalamus. In the present study we re-examined the projection of the ventral subiculum to these regions with the Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHAL) method in the rat. The results confirm and extend earlier conclusions based primarily on the autoradiographic method. Projections from the ventral subiculum course either obliquely through the angular bundle to innervate the amygdala and adjacent parts of the temporal lobe, or follow the alveus and fimbria to the precommissural fornix and medial corticohypothalamic tract. The major amygdalar terminal field is centered in the posterior basomedial nucleus, while other structures that appear to be innervated include the piriformamygdaloid area, the posterior basolateral, posterior cortical, posterior, central, medial, and intercalated nuclei, and the nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract. Projections from the ventral subiculum reach the BST mainly by way of the precommissural fornix, and provide rather dense inputs to the anterodorsal area as well as the transverse and interfascicular nuclei. The medial corticohypothalamic tract is the main route taken by fibers from the ventral subiculum to the hypothalamus, where they innervate the medial preoptic area, "shell" of the ventromedial nucleus, dorsomedial nucleus, ventral premammillary nucleus, and cell-poor zone around the medial mammillary nucleus. We also observed a rather dense terminal field just dorsal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus that extends dorsally and caudally to fill the subparaventricular zone along the medial border of the anterior hypothalamic nucleus and ventrolateral border of the paraventricular nucleus. The general pattern of outputs to the hypothalamus and septum is strikingly similar for the ventral subiculum and suprachiasmatic nucleus, the endogenous circadian rhythm generator.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hypothalamus
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Septum Pellucidum / anatomy & histology*


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants