Neuronal Activity in the Ventral Striatum of the Primate

  • Edmund T. Rolls
  • Graham V. Williams
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 32)


Since the paper of Heimer and Wilson (1975), great interest has focussed on the anatomy of the ventral striatum, which includes the nucleus accumbens, the olfactory tubercle (or anterior perforated substance of primates), and the islands of Calleja. They showed that the ventral striatum receives inputs from limbic structures such as the amygdala and hippocampus, and projects to the ventral pallidum. The ventral pallidum may then influence output regions by the subthalamic nucleus / globus pallidus / ventral thalamus / premotor cortex route, or via the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus / prefrontal cortex route (Heimer et al, 1982). The ventral striatum may thus be for limbic structures what the neostriatum is for neocortical structures, that is a route for limbic structures to influence output regions. The dopamine pathways are at a critical position in these systems, for the nigro-striatal pathway projects to the neostriatum, and the mesolimbic dopamine pathway projects to the ventral striatum (Ungerstedt, 1971). Indeed, Nauta and Domesick (1978) have provided evidence that the ventral striatum also provides a route for limbic information to influence the neostriatum, via the projections of the ventral striatum to the substantia nigra (A9), and thus via the dopamine pathways to the neostriatum. This pattern of connections of the ventral striatum appears to occur not only in the rat (Heimer and Wilson, 1975; Newman and Winans, 1980a,b), but also in the primate (Hemphill et al, 1981). In addition, it is now clear that the olfactory tubercle is in the anterior perforated substance in the primate (Heimer et al, 1977), and that while a small part of it related to the olfactory tract does receive olfactory projections, a much larger part of it receives a strong projection from the inferior temporal visual cortex (Van Hoesen et al, 1976, 1981), and could thus provide a link from temporal lobe association cortex to output regions.


Nucleus Accumbens Caudate Nucleus Ventral Striatum Striatal Neuron Limbic Structure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund T. Rolls
    • 1
  • Graham V. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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