Dopaminergic innervation of the basal ganglia in the squirrel monkey as revealed by tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry

J Comp Neurol. 1989 Nov 1;289(1):36-52. doi: 10.1002/cne.902890104.


The organization of the dopaminergic mesostriatal fibers and their patterns of innervation of the basal ganglia in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) were studied immunohistochemically with an antiserum raised against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Numerous fibers arose from midbrain TH-positive cell bodies of the substantia nigra pars compacta (group A9), the retrorubral area (group A8), and the lateral portion of the ventral tegmental area (group A10). These fibers accumulated dorsomedially to the rostral pole of the substantia nigra where they formed a massive bundle that coursed through the prerubral field and ascended along the laterodorsal aspect of the medial fore-brain bundle in the lateral hypothalamus. Some ventrally located fibers ran throughout the rostrocaudal extent of the lateral preopticohypothalamic area and could be followed up to the olfactory tubercle, whereas other fibers turned laterodorsally to invade the head of the caudate nucleus. At more dorsal levels in the lateral hypothalamus, many fiber fascicles detached themselves from the main bundle and swept laterally to reach the globus pallidus, the putamen, and the amygdala. Several TH-positive fibers coursed along the dorsal surface of the subthalamic nucleus, and some invaded the dorsomedial third of this structure. The remaining portion of the subthalamic nucleus contained relatively few TH-positive elements. In contrast, the globus pallidus received a dense dopaminergic innervation deriving mostly from two fascicles that coursed backward along the two major output pathways of the pallidum: the lenticular fasciculus caudodorsally and the ansa lenticularis rostroventrally. At the pallidal level, the labeled fibres merged within the medullary laminae and arborized profusely in the internal pallidal segment and less abundantly in the external pallidal segment. However, the caudoventral portion of the external pallidum displayed a dense field of TH-positive axonal varicosities. Other fibers ran through the dorsal two-thirds of the external pallidum en route to the putamen. The striatum contained a multitude of thin axonal varicosities among which a few long and varicosed fibers were scattered. These immunoreactive neuronal profiles were rather uniformly distributed along the rostrocaudal extent of the striatum but appeared slightly more numerous in the ventral striatum than in the dorsal striatum. The pattern of distribution of the TH-positive axonal varicosities in the dorsal striatum was markedly heterogeneous: it consisted of typical zones of poor TH immunoreactivity lying within a matrix of dense terminal labeling.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / cytology
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism*
  • Cebidae / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Saimiri / anatomy & histology
  • Saimiri / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism*


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine