Monosynaptic input from the nucleus accumbens--ventral striatum region to retrogradely labelled nigrostriatal neurones

Brain Res. 1981 Aug 3;217(2):245-63. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(81)90002-0.


After placement of lesions (either electrolytic or by injection of kainic acid) in an area including the nucleus accumbens and part of the ventral striatum in the rat, the ipsilateral substantia nigra was studied in the electron microscope. Degenerating axons and nerve terminals were found mainly in the zona reticulata and in the ventral layer of the zona compacta. Degenerating synaptic boutons were found in contact with cell bodies (symmetric synapses) and dendrites (mainly symmetric, but a few asymmetric). The postsynaptic target of some of the afferent fibres from the accumbens-ventral striatum was established by demonstrating degenerating synaptic boutons of the above types in contact with nigrostriatal neurones which had been identified by the retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) from the main body of the striatum. Some of the HRP-labelled cells were also impregnated by the Golgi stain and degenerating boutons were found in contact with their distal dendrites. We also observed two types of HRP-containing boutons (presumably labelled anterogradely) in the subsantia nigra after injection of HRP into the main body of the striatum : type 1 boutons contained large spherical vesicles, and formed symmetrical synapses mainly on dendritic shafts in the zona reticulata and in one case the dendrite was from a nigrostriatal neurone; type 2 boutons had pleomorphic and flattened vesicles and formed symmetrical synapses with perikarya and proximal dendrites, especially in the zona compacta. The latter type of HRP-labelled bouton was frequently found in synaptic contact with the cell bodies of nigrostriatal neurones and the same neurones sometimes also received degenerating boutons originating from neurones in the nucleus accumbens-ventral striatum. It is concluded that part of the striato-nigro-striatal circuit includes a monosynaptic link between neurones in the ventral striatum-accumbens and some nigrostriatal neurones. The possible convergence of input from different regions of the striatum on to single nigrostriatal neurones is also suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology*
  • Rats
  • Septal Nuclei / anatomy & histology*
  • Substantia Nigra / anatomy & histology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure