The parafascicular thalamic nucleus projects to the subthalamic nucleus and the striatum. Double-retrograde fluorescent tracing was used to determine whether these projections arise from the same neurons via axon collaterals. True Blue was injected into the subthalamic nucleus and Nuclear Yellow was injected into the striatum of each rat and the parafascicular thalamic nucleus was examined under the fluorescence light-microscope. Individual parafascicular neurons were not double-labelled with the tracers. The True Blue- and Nuclear Yellow-labelled neurons wee located in different parts of the parafascicular nucleus ipsilateral to the injections. In the rostral part of the parafascicular nucleus, True Blue-labelled neurons were located ventral to the fasciculus retroflexus, and in the caudal part of the nucleus. True Blue-labelled neurons were located close to the medial and lateral borders of fasciculus retroflexus. Nuclear Yellow-labelled neurons were found mainly to encircle the fasciculus retroflexus in the rostral part of the parafascicular nucleus and in the dorsolateral sector of the caudal part of the parafascicular nucleus. Double-labelled neurons were, however, found in the cortex. The proportion of neurons projecting to both the subthalamic nucleus and the striatum accounted for 38% of the total number of corticosubthalamic neurons in the prefrontal cortex, 15.5% in the cingulate cortex and 9% in the sensorimotor cortex. The present finding of an individualization between the parafascicular efferents to the subthalamic nucleus and the striatum emphasize the importance of this projection and provides further evidence of the associative functions attributable to the subthalamic nucleus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas