The efferent connections of the posterior hypothalamus have been analyzed autoradiographically in a series of eight cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) brains with injections of 3H-amino acids in different regions of the mamillary complex and the surrounding areas. The medial mamillary nucleus was found to project through the mamillothalamic tract to the ipsilateral anteroventral, anteromedial, and interanteromedial nuclei, and by way of the mamillotegmental tract principally to the deep tegmental nucleus (of Gudden). It also appears to contribute fibers to the medial forebrain bundle, some of which reach as far rostrally as the medial septal nucleus. The lateral mamillary nucleus projects through the mamillothalamic tract bilaterally upon the anterodorsal nuclei of the thalamus, and through the mamillotegmental system to the dorsal tegmental nucleus; it also appears to contribute fibers to the medial forebrain bundle. The supramamillary area has extensive ascending and descending connections that are distributed with the medial forebrain bundle to the hypothalamus and rostral midbrain; in addition, it gives rise to an unusually well-defined projection to field CA2 of the hippocampus and to a narrow zone overlying the outer part of the granule cell layer and the adjoining part of the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. We have not been able to distinguish the connections of the posterior hypothalamic nucleus from those of the caudal part of the lateral hypothalamic area: they both appear to contribute substantially to the ascending components of the medial forebrain bundle, and through its descending projection to the tegmental fields of the midbrain, the nucleus centralis superior of the raphe complex, the locus coeruleus, and the central gray as far caudally as the facial nerve. Their further projections to the spinal cord were not examined. Viewed broadly, and in the light of previous work, our observations confirm, once again, the constancy of the connections of the hypothalamus in the mammalian brain, and the pivotal position that the posterior hypothalamus occupies in the elaborate system of connections that links the limbic areas of the forebrain with the complex of structures that Nauta has aptly designated the 'midbrain limbic region'.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Neurology|
|State||Published - 1982|
ASJC Scopus subject areas