Spatial organization of neurons in the prefrontal and cingulate cortext, cortex of the piriform lobe and the hippocampus which project axons to the preoptic region, has been studied in cats using horseradish peroxidase tracing. Cortical areas were selected taking into consideration their phylogenetical distinctions. The prefrontal cortex was found to send a major portion of fibres to the preoptic region, while the density of units forming such connections was maximal in the cingulate cortex. Field potentials and neuronal reactions of the medial and lateral divisions of the preoptic region and the adjacent hypothalamic zones were studied in ketamine-anaesthetized cats. The most pronounced field potentials were recorded in the preoptic region upon stimulation of the cortex of the piriform lobe and cingulate cortex. There was a close correlation between the responses of single neurons and components of the field potentials. The majority of neurons responding to cortical stimuli were located mainly in the lateral preoptic region, where the larger amount of primary excitatory reactions were recorded. The medial preoptic region contained a smaller number of responsive neurons prevailingly generating the primary inhibitory reactions. For the lateral preoptic region the inhibition/excitation ratio was 0.6:1 at all cortical stimulations, but for the medial region it was 5.8:1. In the preoptic division adjoining the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the primary inhibitory reactions considerably prevailed over the primary excitatory; on the other hand, in the supraoptic nucleus the primary excitatory reactions prevailed weakly (ratios of 4.9:1 and 0.7:1, respectively). The preoptic region was found to be a zone of wide convergence of cortical inputs to single cells, where three-quarters of neurons responded to the stimulation of two, three or even four cortical areas. © 1992.
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