Origin of noradrenergic afferents to the shell subregion of the nucleus accumbens: Anterograde and retrograde tract-tracing studies in the rat

Jill M. Delfs, Yan Zhu, Jonathan P. Druhan, Gary S. Aston-Jones

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203 Scopus citations

Abstract

The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) can be subdivided into 'core' and 'shell' based on anatomical connections and histochemical markers. Previous studies have demonstrated dopamine-β-hydroxylase immunoreactive (DBH-ir) fibers in the NAcc shell, but the source of these noradrenergic (NE) afferents has not been determined. Therefore, we have investigated in detail the anatomy of NE afferents to this subregion. Dual immunohistochemistry for DBH and substance P demonstrated numerous DBH-ir fibers in the caudal NAcc shell. Neurons projecting to the NAcc were identified with Fluoro-Gold (FG) or cholera toxin B (CTb) retrograde tracing and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemistry. Single- and double-labeled neurons were observed in the A2 and A1 NE cell groups following FG injections into the caudal NAcc shell. Numerous FG and CTb single-labeled neurons were found in the rostral locus coeruleus (LC), subcoeruleus and pericoerulear dendritic region, with an occasional double-labeled neuron in the LC. Few labeled neurons were seen in the stem after FG injections into the NAcc core, consistent with the lack of DBH-ir in this subterritory. To confirm these results, injections of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin or biotinylated dextran amine were made into the LC or nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). Virtually no labeled fibers were observed in the NAcc following injections into central LC. However, fibers were observed in the NAcc shell after injections in the NTS. These results indicate that the primary source(s) of NE afferents to the NAcc shell is the A2 region of the NTS, with lesser contributions from A1 and LC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-140
Number of pages14
JournalBrain research
Volume806
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Medulla
  • Noradrenergic
  • Nucleus tractus solitarius
  • Ventral striatum

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