Asymmetric cross-hemispheric connections link the rat anterior thalamic nuclei with the cortex and hippocampal formation

Mathias L. Mathiasen*, Christopher M. Dillingham, Lisa Kinnavane, Anna L. Powell, John P. Aggleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


Dense reciprocal connections link the rat anterior thalamic nuclei with the prelimbic, anterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortices, as well as with the subiculum and postsubiculum. The present study compared the ipsilateral thalamic-cortical connections with the corresponding crossed, contralateral connections between these same sets of regions. All efferents from the anteromedial thalamic nucleus to the cortex, as well as those to the subiculum, remained ipsilateral. In contrast, all of these target sites provided reciprocal, bilateral projections to the anteromedial nucleus. While the anteroventral thalamic nucleus often shared this same asymmetric pattern of cortical connections, it received relatively fewer crossed inputs than the anteromedial nucleus. This difference was most marked for the anterior cingulate projections, as those to the anteroventral nucleus remained almost entirely ipsilateral. Unlike the anteromedial nucleus, the anteroventral nucleus also appeared to provide a restricted, crossed projection to the contralateral retrosplenial cortex. Meanwhile, the closely related laterodorsal thalamic nucleus had almost exclusively ipsilateral efferent and afferent cortical connections. Likewise, within the hippocampus, the postsubiculum seemingly had only ipsilateral efferent and afferent connections with the anterior thalamic and laterodorsal nuclei. While the bilateral cortical projections to the anterior thalamic nuclei originated predominantly from layer VI, the accompanying sparse projections from layer V largely gave rise to ipsilateral thalamic inputs. In testing a potentially unifying principle of anterior thalamic – cortical interactions, a slightly more individual pattern emerged that reinforces other evidence of functional differences within the anterior thalamic and also helps to explain the consequences of unilateral interventions involving these nuclei.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-143
Number of pages16
Early online date22 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


  • Contralateral
  • Corticothalamic
  • Hippocampus
  • Interhemispheric
  • Thalamocortical
  • Thalamus

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