Evidence for a functional and anatomical relationship between the lateral septum and the hypothalamus in the control of flank marking behavior in golden hamsters

Craig F. Ferris, Larry Gold, Geert J. De Vries, Michael Potegal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Golden hamsters with established dominant/subordinate relationships communicate their social status by rubbing pheromone‐producing flank glands against objects in the environment. This behavior, called flank marking, is controlled by vasopressin‐sensitive neurons localized to the anterior hypothalamus. Vasopressinergic magnocellular neurons in the nucleus circularis and medial aspect of the supraoptic nucleus are thought to be a source of neurotransmitter for the initiation of flank marking. The present study was undertaken to examine the extrahypothalamic control of flank marking. The anatomical and functional connections between the lateral septum and the vasopressin‐containing nuclear groups in and around the anterior hypothalamus were examined by: (1) tracing afferent and efferent connections following microinjection of horseradish peroxidase and Phaseolus vulgaris‐leucoagglutinin into the lateral septum, and (2) recording odor‐induced flank marking prior to and following ibotenate lesions in the septum. The greatest number of perikarya retrogradely labeled with horseradish peroxidase were found lateral to the anterior hypothalamus and ventral to the fornix in the area of the lateral hypothalamus. The vasopressin‐containing nuclear groups, e. g., paraventricular, supraoptic, suprachiasmatic nuclei, and the nucleus circularis, were devoid of labeled perikarya. Nerve terminals anterogradely labeled with Phaseolus vulgaris‐leucoagglutinin were primarily localized to the anterior hypothalamus, in and around the nucleus circularis, and the medial aspect of the supraoptic nucleus. The lateral aspect of the supraoptic nucleus was devoid of nerve terminals as were the paraventricular and suprachiasmatic nuclei. The anatomical connections between the lateral septum and the hypothalamus appear to be necessary for the control of flank marking, since the microinjection of ibotenate into this limbic site significantly reduced odor‐induced flank marking as compared to control microinjections of 0.9% NaCl.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume293
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 1990

Keywords

  • Phaseolus vulgaris‐leucoagglutinin
  • arginine vasopressin
  • horseradish peroxidase
  • iobotenic acid
  • lateral hypothalamus
  • supraoptic nucleus

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