The supramammillo-hippocampal and supramammillo-septal glutamatergic/aspartatergic projections in the rat: A combined [3H]D- aspartate autoradiographic and immunohistochemical study

J. Kiss, Á Csáki, H. Bokor, M. Shanabrough, C. Leranth

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It is well established that the supramammillary nucleus plays a critical role in hippocampal theta rhythm generation/regulation by its direct and indirect (via the septal complex) connections to the hippocampus. Previous morphological and electrophysiological studies indicate that both the supramammillo-hippocampal and supramammillo-septal efferents contain excitatory transmitter. To test the validity of this assumption, transmitter specific retrograde tracer experiments were performed. [3H]D-aspartate was injected into different locations of the hippocampus (granular and supragranular layers of the dentate gyrus and CA2 and CA3a areas of the Ammon's horn) and septal complex (medial septum and the area between the medial and lateral septum) that are known targets of the supramammillary projection. Consecutive vibratome sections prepared from the entire length of the posterior hypothalamus, including the supramammillary area, were immunostained for calretinin, tyrosine hydroxylase, or calbindin, and further processed for autoradiography. Radiolabeled, radiolabeled plus calretinin- containing, and calretinin-immunoreactive neurons were plotted at six different oro-caudal levels of the supramammillary area. The results demonstrated that following both hippocampal and septal injection of the tracer, the majority of the retrogradely radiolabeled (glutamatergic/aspartatergic) cells are immunoreactive for calretinin. However, non-radiolabeled calretinin-containing neurons and radiolabeled calretinin-immunonegative cells were also seen, albeit at a much lower density. These observations clearly indicate the presence of glutamatergic/aspartatergic projections to both the hippocampus and septal complex. It may be assumed that this transmitter could play a role in hippocampal theta rhythm generation/regulation. (C) 2000 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2000



  • Calretinin
  • Colocalization
  • Theta rhythm
  • Transmitter specific retrograde tracing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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