Primate striatonigral projections: a comparison of the sensorimotor-related striatum and the ventral striatum

J Comp Neurol. 1994 Jul 22;345(4):562-78. doi: 10.1002/cne.903450407.


The striatum receives topographic cortical inputs with the limbic lobe terminating in the ventral striatum and sensorimotor cortical regions terminating in the dorsolateral striatum. The organization of striatonigral projections originating from these different striatal territories was examined in primate by using several anterograde tracers. The ventral striatum innervates a large area of the substantia nigra, including the medial pars reticulata and much of the pars compacta. Moreover, projections from separate areas of the ventral striatum overlap considerably in the substantia nigra. No mediolateral or rostrocaudal topographic order is apparent, and the area of the substantia nigra associated with the ventral striatum is extensive. In contrast, the sensorimotor-related striatum innervates a limited region of the ventrolateral substantia nigra. Similar to ventral striatonigral projections, projections originating from different areas of the sensorimotor-related striatum send converging inputs to the substantia nigra. Sensorimotor-related striatonigral projections avoid the region of the dopaminergic neurons in the dorsal pars compacta. Striatonigral projections from the sensorimotor-related and ventral striatum do not overlap in the substantia nigra. Examination of the outputs of discrete striatal loci indicates that the organization of striatonigral projections is more related to corticostriatal inputs than to a simple rostrocaudal, dorsoventral, or mediolateral topography of the striatum. Striatal projections that originate from different striatal territories are distinct and nonoverlapping, thus supporting the concept of segregated striatonigral circuits. However, areas of the striatum that receive common cortical inputs send converging inputs to the substantia nigra. This suggests that the substantia nigra is also an important link for integrating information between functionally related (sub)circuits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Macaca nemestrina / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Substantia Nigra / physiology*