A vibrissa pathway that activates the limbic system.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Elife, Volume 11 (2022)


Afferent Pathways, Animals, Brain Stem, Electrophysiology, Limbic System, Optogenetics, Rats, Rats, Long-Evans, Trigeminal Nuclei, Vibrissae


<p>Vibrissa sensory inputs play a central role in driving rodent behavior. These inputs transit through the sensory trigeminal nuclei, which give rise to the ascending lemniscal and paralemniscal pathways. While lemniscal projections are somatotopically mapped from brainstem to cortex, those of the paralemniscal pathway are more widely distributed. Yet the extent and topography of paralemniscal projections are unknown, along with the potential role of these projections in controlling behavior. Here, we used viral tracers to map paralemniscal projections. We find that this pathway broadcasts vibrissa-based sensory signals to brainstem regions that are involved in the regulation of autonomic functions and to forebrain regions that are involved in the expression of emotional reactions. We further provide evidence that GABAergic cells of the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus gate trigeminal sensory input in the paralemniscal pathway via a mechanism of presynaptic or extrasynaptic inhibition.</p>

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