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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serotoninergic innervation of the thalamus in the primate: an immunohistochemical study.

Little is known of the serotoninergic innervation of the thalamus in primates; therefore, we undertook a detailed study of the distribution of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)-immunoreactive neuronal profiles in the thalamus of the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) with a specific antibody directly raised against 5-HT. All thalamic nuclei in the squirrel monkey displayed 5-HT-immunoreactive fibers, but none contained immunopositive cell bodies. The 5-HT innervation of the thalamus derived from extrinsic fibers arising mostly from the midbrain raphe nuclei and forming the transtegmental system. Most of the fibers destined to the thalamus collected into a major bundle that swept dorsoventrally within the midbrain tegmentum and coursed beneath the thalamus along its entire caudorostral extent. Several fiber fascicles broke off from this main bundle at different levels and ascended dorsally to innervate the various thalamic nuclei. Overall, the 5-HT innervation of the thalamus in the squirrel monkey was more massive than would have been expected from earlier studies in nonprimate species. Marked differences in the regional density of innervation were noted both between the various nuclei and within single nuclei. The most densely innervated nuclei were those delineating the principal subdivisions of the thalamic mass, that is, the midline, rostral intralaminar, limitans, and reticular nuclei, where very dense fields of isolated axonal varicosities occurred. In contrast to the rostral intralaminar nuclei, which were rather uniformly innervated, the centre médian/parafascicular complex contained immunoreactive fibers and isolated varicosities distributed according to a mediolateral gradient. The habenula and the ventral anterior nucleus were among the most weakly innervated nuclei. In the latter nucleus, as well as in more densely innervated nuclei, thin varicose fibers formed numerous pericellular contacts on cell bodies and proximal dendrites of thalamic neurons. The 5-HT innervation of the lateral nuclear group as well as that of the medial and lateral geniculate nuclei ranged from very weak to dense. The mediodorsal nucleus displayed a highly heterogeneous 5-HT innervation that varied from weak in its central portion to moderate or dense in its medial and lateral borders. A moderate 5-HT innervation was observed in the anterior nuclear group. The surprisingly dense and heterogeneous 5-HT innervation of the thalamus noted in the present study suggests that serotonin may be involved in several specific functions of the thalamus in primates.[1]


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