Comparison of hippocampal, amygdala, and perirhinal projections to the nucleus accumbens: combined anterograde and retrograde tracing study in the Macaque brain.
A combination of anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques was used to study the projections to the nucleus accumbens from the amygdala, the hippocampal formation (including the entorhinal cortex), and the perirhinal cortex in two species of macaque monkey. To help identify possible subregions within the nucleus accumbens, the distribution of calbindin was examined in two additional monkeys. Although this revealed evidence of "core"- and "shell"-like regions within the accumbens, these different regions could not consistently be related to cytoarchitectonic features. The rostral amygdala sent nearly equivalent projections to both the medial and the lateral portions of nucleus accumbens, whereas projections arising from the middle and caudal amygdala terminated preferentially in the medial division of nucleus accumbens. The basal nucleus was the major source of these amygdala efferents, and there was a crude topography as parts of the basal and accessory basal nuclei terminated in different parts of nucleus accumbens. The subiculum was the major source of hippocampal projections to the nucleus accumbens, but some hippocampal efferents also originated in the parasubiculum, the prosubiculum, the adjacent portion of CA1, and the uncal portion of CA3. These hippocampal projections, which coursed through the fornix, showed a rostrocaudal gradient as more arose in the rostral hippocampus. Hippocampal efferents terminated most densely in the medial and ventral portions of nucleus accumbens, along with light label in the adjacent olfactory tubercle. The entorhinal projections were more evenly distributed between the medial nucleus accumbens and the olfactory tubercle, whereas the perirhinal projections were primarily to the olfactory tubercle. These cortical inputs were less reliant on the fornix. Amygdala and subicular (hippocampal) projections overlapped most completely in the medial division of nucleus accumbens.