Serotonin neurons of the midbrain raphe: ascending projections

J Comp Neurol. 1978 Aug 1;180(3):417-38. doi: 10.1002/cne.901800302.


The ascending projections of serotonin neurons of the midbrain raphe were analyzed in the rat using the autoradiographic tracing method. Axons of raphe serotonin neurons ascend in the ventral tegmental area and enter the medial forebrain bundle. A number of fibers leave the major group to ascend along the fasciculus retroflexus. Some fibers enter the habenula but the majority turn rostrally in the internal medullary lamina of the thalamus to innervate dorsal thalamus. Two additional large projections leave the medial forebrain bundle in the hypothalamus; the ansa peduncularis-ventral amygdaloid bundle system turns laterally through the internal capsule into the striatal complex, amygdala and the external capsule to reach lateral and posterior cortex, and another system of fibers turns medially to innervate medial hypothalamus and median eminence and form a contrelateral projection via the supraoptic commissures. Rostrally the major group in the medial forebrain bundle divides into several components: fibers entering the stria medullaris to terminate in thalamus; fibers entering the stria terminalis to terminate in the amygdala; fibers traversing the fornix to the hippocampus; fibers running through septum to enter the cingulum and terminate in dorsal and medial cortex and in hippocampus; fibers entering the external capsule to innervate rostral and lateral cortex; and fibers continuing forward in the medial olfactory stria to terminate in the anterior olfactory nucleus and olfactory bulb.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 5,6-Dihydroxytryptamine / pharmacology
  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Axonal Transport / drug effects
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Diencephalon / anatomy & histology
  • Diencephalon / metabolism
  • Female
  • Medial Forebrain Bundle / anatomy & histology
  • Mesencephalon / anatomy & histology*
  • Mesencephalon / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Raphe Nuclei / anatomy & histology*
  • Raphe Nuclei / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Telencephalon / anatomy & histology
  • Telencephalon / metabolism


  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin
  • 5,6-Dihydroxytryptamine