Differential distribution of immunohistochemical markers in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in the human brain

A. Walter, J. K. Mai, L. Lanta, T. Görcs

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A variety of histochemical findings have contributed to a more differentiated architectonical description of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) in the mammalian brain. However, in the human brain investigations of the chemoarchitecture of this nucleus have been rare. Therefore we chose this region in six human autopsy brains in order to map the distribution patterns of 13 immunohistochemical markers for neurotensin (NT), neuropeptide Y (NPY), somatostatin (SOM), enkephalins (ENK), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), substance P (SP), neurophysins (NPH), glial fibrillary acid protein, 3-fucosyl-N-acetyl-lactosamine epitope, myelin basic protein (MBP), calbindin (CAB), synaptophysin (SYN) and chromogranin-A (CHR-A). Three chemoarchitectonically distinct areas could be defined. The lateral subdivision of the BNST contained high amounts of NPY and SP-fibre immunoreactivity and was further characterized by the occurrence of neurons labelled for NPY. The central subdivision of the BNST appeared as a histochemically clearly circumscribed compartment with massive fibre immunoreactivity for SOM. ENK, VIP, SYN, CHR-A, CAB as well as SOM, ENK, NT and CAB positive cells but lacked cytosolic or fibre-like immunolabel for NPY and SP. This structure was also ensheathed by myelinated fibres identified by means of MBP immunohistochemistry. The medial subdivision of the BNST showed moderate to high SP and NPY fibre immunoreactivity but lacked immunolabelled neurons and was only scarcely supplied with varicose or punctiform ENK immunoproduct. In the most posterior levels of our sections a cell group labelled for NPH was located lateral to the fornix columns. The lateral subdivision of the BNST (with NPY, SYN) and mainly the central BNST (with SOM, ENK, VIP, SYN and CHR-A) contributed to ventrolateral extensions of dense patchy fibre immunoreactivity throughout the basal forebrain region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-298
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of chemical neuroanatomy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1991



  • Limbic system Nucleus interstitialis striae terminalis Chemoarchitecture Neuropeptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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