Distribution of dopaminergic fibers in the central division of the extended amygdala of the rat

Brain Res. 1994 Jan 7;633(1-2):243-52. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(94)91545-8.


The distribution of dopaminergic fibers in the principal components of the central extended amygdala (central amygdaloid nucleus (Ce), substantia innominata, and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST)), was studied using immunocytochemistry against tyrosine hydroxylase, dopamine beta-hydroxylase and dopamine. Dopamine fibers were found most densely distributed in the dorsolateral subdivision of the BNST and the lateral part of the Ce. Smaller numbers of dopaminergic fibers were found in the rest of the central extended amygdala. In contrast, dopamine beta-hydroxylase fibers were virtually absent from the dorsolateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and lateral part of the central amygdaloid nucleus, but were distributed in a moderate density in the medial part of Ce, dorsal substantia innominata and posterolateral BNST. Our results show that dopamine fibers are most concentration over those regions of the central extended amygdala with large numbers of GABAergic neurons whose projections remain within the central extended amygdala, while noradrenergic fibers are most heavily concentrated over those regions containing a large proportion of brainstem projection neurons. That dopamine fibers are concentrated over regions with GABAergic medium spiny neurons suggests that those regions might be organized as a striatal parallel.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / immunology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / immunology
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Substantia Innominata / cytology
  • Substantia Innominata / enzymology
  • Substantia Innominata / physiology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / enzymology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / immunology
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
  • Dopamine