Intrinsic connections of the rat amygdaloid complex: projections originating in the lateral nucleus

J Comp Neurol. 1995 May 29;356(2):288-310. doi: 10.1002/cne.903560211.


The amygdaloid complex receives sensory information from a variety of sources. A widely held view is that the amygdaloid complex utilizes this information to orchestrate appropriate species-specific behaviors to ongoing experiences. Relatively little is known, however, about the circuitry through which information is processed within the amygdaloid complex. The lateral nucleus is the major recipient of extrinsic sensory information and is the origin of many intra-amygdaloid projections. In this study, we reinvestigated the organization of intra-amygdaloid projections originating from the lateral nucleus using the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin (PHA-L). The lateral nucleus has highly organized intranuclear connections. Dense projections interconnect rostral and caudal levels of the lateral and the medial divisions of the nucleus, and the lateral and medial divisions of the lateral nucleus are also interconnected. The major extranuclear projections of the lateral nucleus are (in descending order of magnitude) to the accessory basal nucleus, the basal nucleus, the periamygdaloid cortex, the dorsal portion of the central division of the medial nucleus, the posterior cortical nucleus, the capsular division of the central nucleus, and the lateral division of the amygdalohippocampal area. The pattern of extranuclear projections varied depending on the rostrocaudal or mediolateral location of the injection site within the lateral nucleus. These findings indicate that intra-amygdaloid projections originating in the lateral nucleus are both more widespread and more topographically organized than was previously appreciated.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Sensory / anatomy & histology
  • Ganglia, Sensory / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology