The nucleus raphe dorsalis of the rat and its projection upon the caudatoputamen. A combined cytoarchitectonic, immunohistochemical and retrograde transport study

J Physiol (Paris). 1981;77(2-3):157-74.


The nucleus raphe dorsalis of the albino rat has been studied in the following three ways: (1) the cell mass was subjected to a detailed cytoarchitectonic analysis, based upon Nissl-stained material; (2) serotonin--as well as the noradrenaline--immunoreactive neurons present in the area of the nucleus raphe dorsalis were plotted; (3) following large injections of the fluorescent dye propidium iodide into the caudatoputamen complex, the cells in the nucleus raphe dorsalis projecting to this complex were labeled and subsequently stained with an antibody against serotonin. Cytoarchitectonic analysis showed that three cell types are present within the confines of the nucleus raphe dorsalis: small, medium and large. Moreover, differences in concentrations of cell bodies made it possible to subdivide the nucleus raphe dorsalis into four regions. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the borders of the serotoninergic cell groups B6 and B7 of DAHLSTROM and FUXE do not coincide with those of the nucleus raphe dorsalis. Serotonin-immunoreactive perikarya in the nucleus raphe dorsalis were categorized as medium and large neurons; noradrenaline-immunoreactive neurons in the nucleus raphe dorsalis do all belong to the category--large neurons. With the combined use of immunofluorescence and fluorescent retrograde tracing, it was found that the projection from the nucleus raphe dorsalis to the caudatoputamen complex originates from serotoninergic as well as non-serotoninergic cells, both of which can be categorized as being medium-sized neurons. The data presented in this paper provides a guide for further studies of afferent and efferent connections of the nucleus raphe dorsalis and for electrophysiological experiments on its constituent neurons.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Caudate Nucleus / anatomy & histology*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Putamen / anatomy & histology*
  • Raphe Nuclei / anatomy & histology*
  • Rats
  • Serotonin / physiology


  • Serotonin