Brain Structure & Function
Behavioral flexibility is subserved in part by outputs from the cerebral cortex to telencephalic subcortical structures. In our earlier evaluation of the organization of the cortical-subcortical output system (Reynolds and Zahm, J Neurosci 25:11757-11767, 2005), retrograde double-labeling was evaluated in the prefrontal cortex following tracer injections into pairs of the following subcortical telencephalic structures: caudate-putamen, core and shell of the accumbens (Acb), bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BST) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). The present study was done to assess patterns of retrograde labeling in the temporal lobe after similar paired tracer injections into most of the same telencephalic structures plus the lateral septum (LS). In contrast to the modest double-labeling observed in the prefrontal cortex in the previous study, up to 60-80 % of neurons in the basal and accessory basal amygdaloid nuclei and amygdalopiriform transition area exhibited double-labeling in the present study. The most abundant double-labeling was generated by paired injections into structures affiliated with the extended amygdala, including the CeA, BST and Acb shell. Injections pairing the Acb core with the BST or CeA produced significantly fewer double-labeled neurons. The ventral subiculum exhibited modest amounts of double-labeling associated with paired injections into the Acb, BST, CeA and LS. The results raise the issue of how an extraordinarily collateralized output from the temporal lobe may contribute to behavioral flexibility.