Efferent projections of the paraventricular thalamic nucleus in the rat

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Aug 21;359(2):221-38. doi: 10.1002/cne.903590204.


The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT) receives input from all major components of the circadian timing system, including the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the intergeniculate leaflet and the retina. For a better understanding of the role of this nucleus in circadian timing, we examined the distribution of its efferent projections using the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L). The efferent projections of the PVT are loosely organized along its dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior axes. The anterior PVT sends projections to the SCN; the dorsomedial and ventromedial hypothalamic nuclei; the lateral septum; the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; the central and basomedial amygdaloid nuclei; the anterior olfactory nucleus; the olfactory tubercle; the nucleus accumbens; the infralimbic, piriform, and perirhinal cortices; the ventral subiculum; and the endopiriform nucleus. A small PHA-L injection, restricted to the ventral portion of the anterior PVT, produces a similar pattern of labeling, except for a marked decrease in the number of labeled fibers in the hypothalamus, cortex, and lateral septum and an increase in labeling in the endopiriform nucleus and basolateral amygdaloid nucleus. The posterior PVT has a more limited efferent distribution than the anterior PVT, terminating in the anterior olfactory nucleus; the olfactory tubercle; the nucleus accumbens; and the central, basolateral, and basomedial nuclei of the amygdala. Our results show that the anterior PVT is ideally situated to relay circadian timing information from the SCN to brain areas involved in visceral and motivational aspects of behavior and to provide feedback regulation of the SCN.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Male
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stilbamidines*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*


  • 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Stilbamidines
  • leukoagglutinins, plants