Efferent connections of the internal globus pallidus in the squirrel monkey: I. Topography and synaptic organization of the pallidothalamic projection.
The objectives of this study were, on one hand, to better understand how the segregated functional pathways from the cerebral cortex through the striatopallidal complex emerged in the projections to the thalamus and, on the other hand, to compare the ultrastructure and synaptic organization of the pallidal efferents to the ventrolateral (VL) and centromedian (CM) thalamic nuclei in primates. These aims were achieved by injections of the retrograde-anterograde tracer, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA), in different functional regions of the internal pallidum (GPi) in squirrel monkeys. The location of retrogradely labelled cells in the striatum was determined to ascertain the functional specificity of the injection sites. Injections in the ventrolateral two-thirds of the GPi (group 1) led to retrograde labelling in the postcommissural region of the putamen ("sensorimotor striatum") and plexuses of labelled fibers in the rostral one-third of the principal ventrolateral nucleus (VLp) and the central part of the CM. On the other hand, injections in the dorsal one-third (group 3) and the rostromedial pole (group 4) of the GPi led to retrogradely labelled cells in the body of the caudate nucleus ("associative striatum") and the ventral striatum ("limbic striatum"), respectively. After those injections, dense plexuses of anterogradely labelled varicosities were found in common thalamic nuclei, including the parvocellular ventral anterior nucleus (VApc), the dorsal VL (VLd), and the rostrodorsal part of the parafascicular nucleus (PF). In the caudal two-thirds of the CM/PF, the labelled fibers formed a band that lay along the dorsal border of the complex in a region called the dorsolateral PF (PFdl) in this study. The ventromedial nucleus (VM) was densely labelled only after injections in the rostromedial GPi, whereas the dorsal part of the zona incerta was labelled in both groups. At the electron microscopic level, the BDA-positive terminals in the VLp were larger and more elongated than those in the CM but, overall, displayed the same pattern of synaptic organization. Our findings indicate 1) that some associative and limbic cortical information, which is largely processed in segregated corticostriatopallidal channels, converges to common thalamic nuclei and 2) that the PF is a major target of associative and limbic GPi efferents in monkeys.
1997.J. Comp. Neurol., 382(3):323-47.