Citation

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Distribution of the neuronal inputs to the ventral premammillary nucleus of male and female rats

Cavalcante, JC;Bittencourt, JC;Elias, CF;

The ventral premammillary nucleus (PMV) expresses dense collections of sex steroid receptors and receptors for metabolic cues, including leptin, insulin and ghrelin. The PMV responds to opposite sex odor stimulation and projects to areas involved in reproductive control, including direct innervation of gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons. Thus, the PMV is well positioned to integrate metabolic and reproductive cues, and control downstream targets that mediate reproductive function. In fact, lesions of PMV neurons blunt female reproductive function and maternal aggression. However, although the projections of PMV neurons have been well documented, little is known about the neuronal inputs received by PMV neurons. To fill this gap, we performed a systematic evaluation of the brain sites innervating the PMV neurons of male and female rats using the retrograde tracer subunit B of the cholera toxin (CTb). In general, we observed that males and females show a similar pattern of afferents. We also noticed that the PMV is preferentially innervated by neurons located in the forebrain, with very few projections coming from brainstem nuclei. The majority of inputs originated from the medial nucleus of the amygdala, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the medial preoptic nucleus. A moderate to high density of afferents was also observed in the ventral subiculum, the arcuate nucleus and the ventrolateral subdivision of the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. Our findings strengthen the concept that the PMV is part of the vomeronasal system and integrates the brain circuitry controlling reproductive functions.