The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) is part of a group of midline and intralaminar thalamic nuclei implicated in arousal and attention. This study examined the connections between the PVT and the forebrain by using the retrograde tracer cholera toxin B (CTb) and the anterograde tracer biotin dextran amine (BDA). The anterior and posterior regions of the PVT were found to send a dense projection to the nucleus accumbens. The posterior PVT was also found to provide a strong projection to the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST), interstitial nucleus of the posterior limb of the anterior commissure (IPAC), and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), regions associated with the extended amygdala. In contrast, the anterior PVT was found to send a weaker projection to the extended amygdala. The basolateral nucleus of the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex were found to receive a relatively weak projection from the PVT, and other regions of the BST and amygdala were found to be poorly innervated by the PVT. In addition, the PVT was found to innervate regions in the extended amygdala that contained corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons, many of which were found to receive apparent contacts from PVT fibers. The projection from the PVT to the nucleus accumbens and extended amygdala places the PVT in a key anatomical position to influence adaptive behaviors as well as the physiological and neuroendocrine responses associated with these behaviors.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.