Noradrenergic innervation of the adult rat hippocampal formation

J Comp Neurol. 1980 Feb 15;189(4):699-710. doi: 10.1002/cne.901890406.


The noradrenaline (NA)-containing innervation of the hippocampal formation arises exclusively in the brainstem nucleus locus coeruleus. The projection is 75--90% ipsilateral, originating predominantly in the large, multipolar cells of the compact component of the nucleus. The axons course into the hippocampal formation by three pathways. Ammon's horn receives its NA innervation principally through the ventral amygdaloid bundle-ansa peduncularis, with smaller contributions from the fornix and ipsilateral fasciculus cinguli. The innervation of the area dentata is to a larger extent bilateral, with the greatest contribution arising from the ipsilateral fasciculus cinguli and approximately equal proportions of fibers traveling via the contralateral cingulum, fornix, and the ventral path. In general, the endogenous content of NA is greater in the area dentata than in Ammon's horn, and in both structures is greater in the temporal than in the septal ends. The pattern of NA innervation is similar at all septotemporal levels, however. The dense plexuses of preterminal and terminal elements appear in the infragranular hilus of the area dentata, stratum lucidum of CA3, and in the molecular layer of the subiculum. Fluorescent varicosities often appear in perisomatic clusters, or, closely apposed to dendrites of granule and pyramidal cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Locus Coeruleus / anatomy & histology
  • Locus Coeruleus / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Norepinephrine