Efferent projections of the intergeniculate leaflet and the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus in the rat

Robert Y. Moore, Roger Weis, Margaret M. Moga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The intergeniculate leaflet (IGL) and the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus (VLG) are ventral thalamic derivatives within the lateral geniculate complex. In this study, IGL and VLG efferent projections were compared by using anterograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin and retrograde transport of FluoroGold. Projections from the IGL and VLG leave the geniculate in four pathways. A dorsal pathway innervates the thalamic lateral dorsal nucleus (VLG), the reuniens and rhomboid nuclei (VLG and IGL), and the paraventricular nucleus (IGL). A ventral pathway runs through the geniculohypothalamic tract to the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the anterior hypothalamus (IGL). A medial pathway innervates the zona incerta and dorsal hypothalamus (VLG and IGL); the lateral hypothalamus and perifornical area (VLG); and the retrochiasmatic area (RCA), dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, and subparaventricular zone (IGL). A caudal pathway projects medially to the posterior hypothalamic area and periaqueductal gray and caudally along the brachium of the superior colliculus to the medial pretectal area and the nucleus of the optic tract (IGL and VLG). Caudal IGL axons also terminate in the olivary pretectal nucleus, the superficial gray of the superior colliculus, and the lateral and dorsal terminal nuclei of the accessory optic system. Caudal VLG projections innervate the lateral posterior nucleus, the anterior pretectal nucleus, the intermediate and deep gray of the superior colliculus, the dorsal terminal nucleus, the midbrain lateral tegmental field, the interpeduncular nucleus, the ventral pontine reticular formation, the medial and lateral pontine gray, the parabrachial region, and the accessory inferior olive. This pattern of IGL and VLG projections is consistent with our understanding of the distinct functions of each of these ventral thalamic derivatives. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-418
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 8 2000


  • Circadian rhythms
  • Pretectal area
  • Subparaventricular zone
  • Suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • Zona incerta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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