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Differential Distribution Patterns From Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Dorsal Raphe to the Locus Coeruleus in Rats

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Locus coeruleus (LC) consists of a densely packed nuclear core and a surrounding plexus of dendritic zone, which is further divided into several subregions. Whereas many limbic‐related structures topographically target specific subregions of the LC, the precise projections from two limbic areas, that is, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and dorsal raphe (DR), have not been investigated. The goal of the present study is to identify and compare the distribution patterns of mPFC and DR afferent terminals to the LC nuclear core as opposed to specific pericoerulear dendritic regions (Peri‐LC). To address these issues, anterograde tracer injections were combined with dopamine‐β‐hydroxylase (DBH) immunofluorescent staining to reveal the distribution patterns around the LC nuclear complex. Our data suggest that both mPFC‐LC and DR‐LC projections exhibit selective afferent terminal patterns. More specifically, mPFC‐LC projecting fibers mainly target the rostromedial Peri‐LC, whereas DR‐LC projecting fibers demonstrate a preference to the caudal juxtaependymal Peri‐LC. Thus, our present findings provide further evidences that afferents to the LC are topographically organized. Understanding the relationship among different inputs to the LC may help to elucidate the organizing principle which likely governs the interactions between the broad afferent sources of the LC and its global efferent targets. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurobiology and Anatomical Science, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi 2: Department of Neurosurgery, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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