Amygdalonigral pathway: an anterograde study in the rat with Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L)

J Comp Neurol. 1990 Jul 8;297(2):182-200. doi: 10.1002/cne.902970203.


The projection from the central nucleus of the amygdala to the substantia nigra was labeled by injections of the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin into different subregions of the nucleus. A sparse projection of labeled bouton-like swellings was observed in the rostral, medial substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area from all subregions of the central nucleus of the amygdala that were injected. A dense projection of labeled axons and bouton-like swellings was observed in the lateral part of the substantia nigra pars compacta and pars lateralis when the injection site included the dorsal and rostral central nucleus. Heavy labeling was also seen in the lateral retrorubral field in these cases. In no instances were labeled terminals observed in the substantia nigra pars reticulata. The same pattern of labeling in the lateral substantia nigra and retrorubral field was seen after injections rostral to the central nucleus or dorsal and medial to it in the sublenticular region. The results suggest that the amygdalonigral pathway contributes to the innervation of extensive areas of the substantia nigra pars compacta. The major component of the pathway, however, projects only to a subregion of the substantia nigra. The origin of this pathway is confined to a discrete region of the dorsal central nucleus of the amygdala but extends rostrally into an area that is part of the "extended amygdala."

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Substantia Nigra / physiology*


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants