Topographical projections of the cerebral cortex to the subthalamic nucleus

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Jun 1;236(1):14-28. doi: 10.1002/cne.902360103.


Corticosubthalamic projections in the rat were investigated using the autoradiographic anterograde axonal tracing technique. After unilateral injections of tritiated amino acids in the cerebral cortex, projections to the ipsilateral subthalamic nucleus (STH) could be found arising only from the frontal agranular cortex and the zone of MI-SI overlap. Injections into granular areas of the cortex (e.g., somatosensory and visual areas) did not result in labeling in STH. Following injections in the frontal agranular cortex, labeling was present in the ipsilateral but not the contralateral STH. In general, injections that involved the lateral agranular field of frontal cortex, as defined by Donoghue and Wise ('82), resulted in a greater amount of labeling in STH than injections within the medial agranular area or the zone of MI-SI overlap. The projection from the frontal agranular areas to STH is topographically organized. The rostral part of the lateral agranular cortex projects to the lateral portion of the rostral two-thirds of STH, and the caudal part of this field projects to the ventral aspect of the middle third of STH. Injections in the rostral part of the medial agranular cortex resulted in labeling throughout the ventral two-thirds of the medial half of STH. The caudal part of the medial agranular cortex projects to the dorsolateral part of the caudal two-thirds of STH. The present results reveal projections from only the frontal agranular cortex and the zone of MI-SI overlap to STH in the rat. The cortico-STH projection is ipsilateral and terminates in a topographical manner in all parts of STH.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Axonal Transport
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology*