Ramifications of the globus pallidus in the rat as indicated by patterns of immunohistochemistry

Neuroscience. 1983 Jun;9(2):245-60. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(83)90291-9.


An attempt has been made to redefine the borders of the globus pallidus by the aid of the unique pattern of enkephalin-like and substance P-like immunoreactivity characterizing the pallidum of both monkey and rat. In preparations immunoreacted for these two peptides by the peroxidase-antiperoxidase histochemical method of Sternberger this pattern appears in the form of ribbon-like fibers (here called "woolly fibers") that have been interpreted by Haber and Elde as unstained pallidal elements (dendrites and cell bodies) each enmeshed by a plexus of thin, enkephalin- or substance P-positive striatopallidal fibers. A dense enkephalin-positive woolly-fiber plexus fills the entire external pallidal segment as conventionally defined (here called "dorsal pallidum") and extends from there in various, generally ventral, directions. The most massive, rostral extension defines the subcommissural or "ventral pallidum" of Heimer and Wilson and expands from there ventraward into the olfactory tubercle, supporting Heimer's suggestion that many of the large cells of the tubercle are pallidal neurons. Further extensions from the enkephalin-positive dorsal pallidum plexus invade the ventral striatal region (including the nucleus accumbens), a dorsal region of the amygdala, and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Substance P-positive woolly fibers, like their enkephalin-positive counterparts, fill the ventral pallidum and invade the olfactory tubercle, but avoid all except a small rostroventral part of the dorsal pallidum, and do not invade the striatum, the amygdala, or the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. On the other hand, the dense substance P-positive woolly-fiber plexus filling the internal pallidal segment (entopeduncular nucleus) expands medialward into the lateral hypothalamic region. The entopeduncular nucleus invades the hypothalamus also with a loose plexus of enkephalin-positive woolly fibers. It is suggested that woolly fibers extending outward beyond the conventionally recognized borders of the pallidum represent pallidal elements innervated by enkephalin or substance P-positive fibers arising from ventromedial striatal regions in turn innervated by limbic structures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Enkephalins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology*
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Neural Pathways / analysis
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Bulb / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Substance P / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Enkephalins
  • Substance P