Intra- and extrahypothalamic vasopressin and oxytocin pathways in the rat. Pathways to the limbic system, medulla oblongata and spinal cord

Cell Tissue Res. 1978 Sep 26;192(3):423-35. doi: 10.1007/BF00212323.


Vasopressin and oxytocin pathways were specifically localized in glutaraldehyde-paraformaldehyde fixed rat brains, with the use of the unlabelled antibody enzyme method and purification of the first antiserum. Vasopressin and oxytocin containing pathways were traced from the paraventricular nucleus towards the dorsal and ventral hippocampus, the nuclei of the amygdala, substantia nigra and substantia grisea, nucleus tractus solitarius, nucleus ambiguus and to the substantia gelatinosa of the spinal cord. In addition, a vasopressin containing pathway between the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the lateral habenular nucleus was demonstrated. The possible nature (axons or dendrites) and role of these extrahypothalamic fibres is discussed in relation to water balance, milk ejection and avoidance behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Medulla Oblongata / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Fibers / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurosecretory Systems / anatomy & histology*
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology
  • Supraoptic Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Vasopressins / metabolism*


  • Vasopressins
  • Oxytocin