Projections of the ventral premammillary nucleus

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Oct 8;324(2):195-212. doi: 10.1002/cne.903240205.


The projections of the ventral premammillary nucleus (PMv) have been examined with the Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHAL) method in adult male rats. The results indicate that the nucleus gives rise to two major ascending pathways and a smaller descending pathway. One large ascending pathway terminates densely in most regions of the periventricular zone of the hypothalamus, with the notable exception of the suprachiasmatic, suprachiasmatic preoptic, and median preoptic nuclei. This pathway is in a position to influence directly many cell groups known to regulate anterior pituitary function. The second large pathway ascends through the medial zone of the hypothalamus and densely innervates the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial nucleus and adjacent basal parts of the lateral hypothalamic area, medial preoptic nucleus, principal nucleus of the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis, ventral lateral septal nucleus, posterodorsal part of the medial nucleus of the amygdala, posterior nucleus, and immediately adjacent regions of the posterior cortical nucleus of the amygdala. It is already known that these regions are major components of the sexually dimorphic circuit, and, interestingly, that they provide the major neural inputs to the PMv. The smaller descending projection from the PMv seems to innervate preferentially the posterior hypothalamic nucleus, although a small number of fibers appear to end in the tuberomammillary nucleus, supramammillary nucleus, specific regions of the medial mammillary nucleus, interfascicular nucleus, interpeduncular nucleus, periaqueductal gray, dorsal nucleus of the raphe, laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, Barrington's nucleus, and locus coeruleus. Relatively sparse terminal fields associated with ascending fibers were also observed in the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus; in the nucleus reuniens, parataenial nucleus, paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, and mediodorsal nucleus; in the central nucleus of the amygdala, anterodorsal part of the medial nucleus of the amygdala, posterior part of the basomedial nucleus of the amygdala; and in the ventral subiculum and adjacent parts of hippocampal field CA1, and the infralimbic and prelimbic areas of the medial prefrontal cortex. Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests that the PMv receives two major inputs--one from the sexually dimorphic circuit, and the other from the blood in the form of gonadal steroid hormones--and gives rise to two major outputs: one (perhaps feed-forward) to the neuroendocrine (periventricular) zone of the hypothalamus, and the other (perhaps feed-back) to the sexually dimorphic circuit.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Brain Stem / ultrastructure*
  • Hypothalamus, Middle / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prosencephalon / ultrastructure*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / anatomy & histology*
  • Septum Pellucidum / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants