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Projection from the vomeronasal amygdala to the accessory olfactory bulb in the mouse



Projection from the vomeronasal amygdala to the accessory olfactory bulb in the mouse



FASEB Journal 15(5): A1077



In mammals, the vomeronasal system is specialised in the detection and transmission of conspecific, chemosensory information. These pheromonal cues are detected by two separate classes of vomeronasal receptor neuron, which project to separate anterior and posterior subdivisions of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). This morphological fact, which has been demonstrated by different methods, could suggest that the accessory olfactory system would be divided into two distinct pathways up to the level of the AOB. In order to examine whether the segregation is preserved in the subsequent connections of the AOB, that is to say the vomeronasal amygdala (VNA), some interesting papers have been appeared recently. In this kind of studies conjugated dextran-amines were iontophoretically injected into the rostral, caudal or both zones of the AOB. Taking into account that the spread of dye between injection sites in the nuclei of the VNA is less of a problem than in the AOB, as these structures are separated by several millimetres in mice, we have used an alternative approach consisting in injecting into these amygdaloid nuclei. Local injections of the lipophillic tracer DiI were made into the antero-dorsal and postero-ventral divisions of the medial amygdala (Me), and into the postero-medial cortical amygdala (PMCo). In each case, labelled mitral/tufted cells were found distributed throughout the anterior-posterior extent of the AOB. Thus, mitral/tufted cells the anterior and posterior subregions of the AOB send projections to both the Me and PMCo nuclei of the amygdala. These results are consistent with the idea that the segregation of zonal pathways collapses in the VNA. Therefore, it is still unclear whether the reciprocal projections from the amygdala to the AOB are segregated in mice, as occurs in other species. Probably, considering the species-specific nature of the vomeronasal information, there may be important species differences in the reciprocal connections of the AOB and the amygdala.

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