Afferent projections to the different medial amygdala subdivisions: a retrograde tracing study in the mouse

Brain Struct Funct. 2016 Mar;221(2):1033-65. doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0954-y. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


The medial amygdaloid nucleus (Me) is a key node in the socio-sexual brain, composed of anterior (MeA), posteroventral (MePV) and posterodorsal (MePD) subdivisions. These subdivisions have been suggested to play a different role in reproductive and defensive behaviours. In the present work we analyse the afferents of the three Me subdivisions using restricted injections of fluorogold in female outbred CD1 mice. The results reveal that the MeA, MePV and MePD share a common pattern of afferents, with some differences in the density of retrograde labelling in several nuclei. Common afferents to Me subdivisions include: the accessory olfactory bulbs, piriform cortex and endopiriform nucleus, chemosensory amygdala (receiving direct inputs from the olfactory bulbs), posterior part of the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTM), CA1 in the ventral hippocampus and posterior intralaminar thalamus. Minor projections originate from the basolateral amygdala and amygdalo-hippocampal area, septum, ventral striatum, several allocortical and periallocortical areas, claustrum, several hypothalamic structures, raphe and parabrachial complex. MeA and MePV share minor inputs from the frontal cortex (medial orbital, prelimbic, infralimbic and dorsal peduncular cortices), but differ in the lack of main olfactory projections to the MePV. By contrast, the MePD receives preferential projections from the rostral accessory olfactory bulb, the posteromedial BSTM and the ventral premammillary nucleus. In summary, the common pattern of afferents to the Me subdivisions and their interconnections suggest that they play cooperative instead of differential roles in the various behaviours (e.g., sociosexual, defensive) in which the Me has been shown to be involved.

Keywords: Fluorogold; Olfactory system; Retrograde tracing; Socio-sexual behaviour; Vomeronasal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / pathology*
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neural Pathways
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Thalamus / physiology
  • Vomeronasal Organ / physiology