Localization of Putative Cholinergic Neurons Innervating the Anteroventral Thalamus

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The brainstem localization of acetylcholinesterase (AChE)-containing neurons projecting to the anteroventral thalamic nucleus (AVN) was studied in rats. The AVN is one of several forebrain regions innervated by the AChE-containing dorsal tegmental pathway described by Shute and Lewis. In the present study, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected into the region of the AVN to determine the brainstem origin of afferent projections. Alternate sections of tissue were stained for HRP or AChE. HRP-labeled neurons were found in the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LTN) and the locus coeruleus. Examination of adjacent sections revealed AChE-containing neurons in both of these nuclear regions. Combined HRP/AChE histochemistry demonstrated that transported HRP and AChE were in the same cells. In further experiments, unilateral lesions of the LTN were found to cause a decrease in AChE staining of the ipsilateral AVN. Destruction of the locus coeruleus had no effect. In combination with available evidence, the present findings suggest that cholinergic neurons in the LTN innervate the AVN. © 1980, All rights reserved.