Research

Behavioral neuroscience

  • Functional organization of the brainstem and its role in controlling the activity of the forebrain
  • Neurophysiology of sleep
  • Subcortical systems control the hippocampal EEG and functional significance
  • Brainstem-diencephalic networks that control the theta rhythm 
  • Hippocampal EEG and their role in memory processing functions of the hippocampus


The research of the lab primarily focuses on an examination of various afferent systems to the hippocampus involved in the control/modulation the activity of the hippocampus in learning and memory. Early studies of the lab described ascending brainstem-diencephalic-septohippocampal systems controlling the theta rhythm of the hippocampus and the functional significance of theta. This work is summarized in the several of reviews: Vertes and Kocsis, 1997, Vertes et al., 2004, Vertes 2005). More recently we have directed our attention to another major input to the hippocampus -- the nucleus reuniens of the midline thalamus. The nucleus reuniens, together with other nuclei of the midline thalamus, is actively being investigated. Nucleus reuniens is strongly reciprocally connected with the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and appears to directly participate in functions involving interactions between the hippocampus and the mPFC (for review, Cassel et al., 2013). The reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the ventral midline thalamus predominantly target limbic cortical structures (Vertes, et al., 2006; Hoover and Vertes, 2012; Varela et al. 2014) and hence serve a role in cognitive functions (Hembrook and Mair, 2011, 2012; Loureiro et al., 2012; Cholvin et al., 2013; whereas the paraventricular and paratenial nuclei of the dorsal midline thalamus mainly target to limbic subcortical structures (Li and Kirouac, 2008; Vertes and Hoover, 2008), notably the nucleus accumbens and amygdala, and thus are primarily involved in affective functions (for review, Hsu et al., 2014; Matzeu et al., 2014).   


Our lab continues to investigate the anatomical and functions characteristics of nuclei of the midline nuclei of the thalamus, concentrating on the nucleus reuniens. The following articles provide an overview of recent work of the lab involving these systems: 


McKenna, J.T., Vertes, R.P. (2004) Afferent projections to nucleus reuniens of the thalamus. J. Comp. Neurol. 480, 115-142.  

Viana Di Prisco, G., Vertes, R.P. (2006) Excitatory actions of the ventral midline thalamus (rhomboid/reuniens) on the medial prefrontal cortex in the rat. Synapse 60, 45-55.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B, do Valle, A.C., Sherman, A., Rodriguez, J.J. (2006) Efferent projections of reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the thalamus in the rat. J. Comp. Neurol. 499, 768-796. 

Vertes, R.P. (2006) Interactions among the medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and midline thalamus in emotional and cognitive processing in the rat. Neuroscience 142, 1-20.    

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B, Szigeti, K., Leranth, C. (2007) Nucleus reuniens of the midline thalamus: link between the medial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. Brain Res. Bull. 71, 601-609.

Morales, G.J., Ramcharan, E.J., Sundararaman, N., Morgera, S.D., Vertes, R.P. (2007) Analysis of the actions of nucleus reuniens and the entorhinal cortex on EEG and evoked population behavior of the hippocampus. Proc. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc. 1, 2480-2484.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B. (2008) Projections of the paraventricular and paratenial nuclei of the dorsal midline thalamus in the rat. J. Comp. Neurol. 508, 212-237.  

Hoover, W.B., Vertes, R.P. (2012) Collateral projections from nucleus reuniens of thalamus to hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex in the rat: a single and double retrograde fluorescent labeling study. Brain Struct. Funct. 217, 191-209.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B., Rodriguez, J.J. (2012) Projections of the central medial nucleus of the thalamus: node in cortical, striatal and limbic forebrain circuitry. Neuroscience 219, 120-136.

Cassel, J.C., Pereira de Vasconccelos, A., Loureiro, M., Cholvin, T., Dalrymple-Alford, J., Vertes, R.P. (2013) The reuniens and rhomboid nuclei: neuroanatomy, electrophysiological characteristics and behavioral implications. Prog Neurobiol. 111, 34-52.


References to the above cited articles:

Cassel, J.C., Pereira de Vasconcelos, A., Loureiro, M., Cholvin, T., Dalrymple-Alford, J.C., Vertes, R.P. (2013) The reuniens and rhomboid nuclei: neuroanatomy, electrophysiological characteristics and behavioral implications. Prog. Neurobiol. 111, 34-52. 

Cholvin, T., Loureiro, M., Cassel, R., Cosquer, B., Geiger, K., De Sa Nogueira, D., Raingard, H., Robelin, L., Kelche, C., Pereira de Vasconcelos, A., Cassel, J.C. (2013) The ventral midline thalamus contributes to strategy shifting in a memory task requiring both prefrontal cortical and hippocampal functions. J. Neurosci. 33, 8772–8783.

Hembrook, J.R., Mair, R.G. (2011) Lesions of reuniens and rhomboid thalamic nuclei impair radial maze win-shift performance. Hippocampus 21, 815–826.

Hembrook, J.R., Onos, K.D., Mair, R.G. (2012) Inactivation of ventral midline thalamus produces selective spatial delayed conditional discrimination impairment in the rat. Hippocampus 22, 853–860.

Hoover, W.B., Vertes, R.P. (2012) Collateral projections from nucleus reuniens of thalamus to hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex in the rat: a single and double retrograde fluorescent labeling study. Brain Struct. Funct. 217, 191-209.

Hsu, D.T., Kirouac, G.J., Zubieta, J.K., Bhatnagar, S. (2014) Contributions of the paraventricular thalamic nucleus in the regulation of stress, motivation, and mood. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 8, 73.

Li, S., Kirouac, G.J. (2008) Projections from the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus to the forebrain, with special emphasis on the extended amygdala. J. Comp. Neurol. 506, 263–287.

Loureiro, M., Cholvin, T., Lopez, J., Merienne, N., Latreche, A., Cosquer, B., Geiger, K., Kelche, C., Cassel, J.C., Pereira de Vasconcelos, A. (2012) The ventral midline thalamus (reuniens and rhomboid nuclei) contributes to the persistence of spatial memory in rats. J. Neurosci. 32, 9947–9959.

Matzeu, A., Zamora-Martinez, E.R., Martin-Fardon, R. (2014) The paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus is recruited by both natural rewards and drugs of abuse: recent evidence of a pivotal role for orexin/hypocretin signaling in this thalamic nucleus in drug-seeking behavior. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 8, 117.

Varela, C., Kumar, S., Yang, J.Y., Wilson, M.A. (2014) Anatomical substrates for direct interactions between hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and the thalamic nucleus reuniens. Brain Struct. Funct. 219, 911-929. 

Vertes, R.P., Kocsis, B.  (1997) Brainstem-diencephalo-septohippocampal systems controlling the theta rhythm of the hippocampus. Neuroscience 81, 893-926.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B., Viana Di Prisco, G. (2004) Theta rhythm of the hippocampus: Subcortical control and functional significance. Behav. Cogn. Neurosci. Rev. 3, 173-200.  

Vertes, R.P. Hippocampal theta rhythm: A tag for short term memory. (2005) Hippocampus 15, 923-935.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B, do Valle, A.C., Sherman, A., Rodriguez, J.J. (2006) Efferent projections of reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the thalamus in the rat. J. Comp. Neurol. 499, 768–796.

Vertes, R.P., Hoover, W.B. (2008) Projections of the paraventricular and paratenial nuclei of the dorsal midline thalamus in the rat. J. Comp. Neurol. 508, 212–237.


Some other research reports of the lab dealing with prefrontal cortical systems, anterior nuclei of the thalamus, serotonergic systems and sleep mechanisms:

Vertes, R.P., Albo, Z., Viana Di Prisco, G. (2001) Theta rhythmically firing neurons in the anterior thalamus: Implications for mnemonic functions of Papez’s circuit, Neuroscience 104, 619-625.   

Albo, Z., Viana Di Prisco, G., Vertes, R.P.  (2003) Anterior thalamic unit discharge profiles and coherence with hippocampal theta rhythm. Thal. Rel. Syst. 2, 133-144. 

Vertes, R.P. (2004) Differential projections of the infralimbic and prelimbic cortex in the rat. Synapse 51, 32-58.  

Vertes, R.P. (2004) Memory consolidation in sleep: Dream or reality. Neuron 44:135-148.

Vertes, R.P., Siegel, J.M. (2005) Time for the sleep community to take a critical look at the purported role of sleep in memory processing. Sleep 28, 1228-1129.

Hoover, W.B., Vertes, R.P. (2007) Anatomical analysis of afferent projections to the medial prefrontal cortex in the rat. Brain Struct. Funct. 212, 149-179.  

Vertes, R.P., Linley, S.B. (2008) Efferent and afferent connections of the dorsal and median raphe nuclei in the rat. In: Serotonin and Sleep: Molecular, Functional and Clinical Aspects, Monti J.M., Pandi-Perumal S.R., Jacobs B.L and Nutt D. (eds.), Birkhauser-Verlag, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 69-102. 

Vertes, R.P. (2010) Serotonergic regulation of rhythmical activity of the brain, concentrating on the hippocampus. In: Handbook of the Behavioral Neurobiology of Serotonin, Muller C.P and Jacobs B.L. (eds), Academic Press, New York, pp. 277-292.   

Vertes, R.P., Linley, S.B., Hoover, W.B. (2010) Patterns of distribution of serotonergic fibers to the thalamus of the rat.  Brain Struct. Funct. 215, 1-28.   

Vertes, R.P., Stackman, R.W. (Eds.) (2011) Electrophysiological Recording Techniques, Humana Press, New York. 

Vertes, R.P. (2011) Hippocampal theta rhythm of REM sleep. In: Rapid Eye Movement Sleep: Mechanism of Regulation and Dysregulation, Mallick B.M., Pandi-Perumal S.R., McCarley R.W. and Morrison, A. (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 151-163.    

Rodríguez, J.J., Noristani, H.N., Hoover, W.B., Linley, S.B., Vertes R.P. (2011) Serotonergic projections and serotonin receptor expression in the reticular nucleus of the thalamus in the rat. Synapse 65, 919-928. 

Linley, S.B., Hoover, W.B., Vertes, R.P. (2013) Pattern of distribution of serotonergic fibers to the obitomedial and insular cortex in the rat. J. Chem. Neuroanat. 48, 29-45. 

Vertes, R.P., Linley, S.B., Groenewegen, H.J. and Witter, M.P. Thalamus. (2014) In: The Rat Nervous System, 4th ed. (Paxinos, G., Ed), San Diego: Academic Press, in press.

 


Contact Information:

Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences

Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA

Phone: 1-561-297-2362
Fax: 1-561-297-2363
E-mail:vertes@ccs.fau.edu

Dr. Vertes 2014