Peciña and Berridge (2005; J Neurosci 25:11777-11786) observed that an injection of the μ-opioid receptor agonist DAMGO (D-ala(2) -N-Me-Phe(4) -Glycol(5) -enkephalin) into the rostrodorsal part of the accumbens shell (rdAcbSh) enhances expression of hedonic "liking" responses to the taste of an appetitive sucrose solution. Insofar as the connections of this hedonic "hotspot" were not singled out for special attention in the earlier neuroanatomical literature, we undertook to examine them. We observed that the patterns of inputs and outputs of the rdAcbSh are not qualitatively different from those of the rest of the Acb, except that outputs from the rdAcbSh to the lateral preoptic area and anterior and lateral hypothalamic areas are anomalously robust and overlap extensively with those of the lateral septum. We also detected reciprocal interconnections between the rdAcbSh and lateral septum. Whether and how these connections subserve hedonic impact remains to be learned, but these observations lead us to hypothesize that the rdAcbSh represents a basal forebrain transition area, in the sense that it is invaded by neurons of the lateral septum, or possibly transitional neuronal forms sharing properties of both structures. We note that the proposed transition zone between lateral septum and rdAcbSh would be but one of many in the basal forebrain and conclude by reiterating the longstanding argument that the transitional nature of such boundary areas has functional importance, of which the precise nature will remain elusive until the neurophysiological and neuropharmacological implications of such zones of transition are more generally acknowledged and better addressed.
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