The posterior thalamus (Po) consists of heterogeneous groups of cells, which have not been clearly defined. In the present study, we focused on a part of the Po in the mouse brain, which is located caudally to the ventral posterior nucleus and rostromedially to the medial geniculate nucleus and shows distinct calretinin immunoreactivity. While we found the region had a considerable unity on the cytoarchitectural and histochemical grounds, it did not correspond to any particular nucleus but partially involved three structures in a widely used brain atlas (Franklin and Paxinos, 2008). Therefore, we tentatively designated the region as the medioventral part of the posterior thalamus (PoMV) and examined its anatomical features with immunohistochemistry and retrograde tract-tracing. The PoMV was appreciated as a reticular structure with prominent calretinin immunoreactivity, especially in horizontal sections, and displayed apparent differences in the cytoarchitecture from its surrounding regions. The PoMV had two divisions: the dorsal division (PoMVd), which contained parvalbuminimmunoreactive fibers, and the ventral division (PoMVv), which lacked these fibers. The tract-tracing studies showed that the somata retrogradely labeled from the injections in the insular cortex and some of the extended amygdalar regions were fairly concentrated within the PoMV, especially in the PoMVd. On the other hand, the labeling from the medial hypothalamus injections was found predominantly within the PoMVv. These findings indicate that the PoMV can be regarded as a distinct structure within the Po, and it may play a role in the emotional aspect of somatosensory processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience