GABA-containing neuronal processes in normal and cortically deafferented dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat: an immunogold and quantitative EM study

J. Takács, J. Hámori, V. Silakov

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The qualitative and quantitative synaptology of flat synaptic vesicle containing "F" type terminals was analysed in normal and in chronically cortically deafferented dorsal Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (dLGN) of the cat using an electron microscopic immunogold technique for visualization of GABA. A direct correlation was found between the density (number of gold particles) of GABA immunostaining and the number of synaptic vesicles in different F terminals. This suggested a quantitative relationship between transmitter content and the number of vesicles in the labeled terminals. Not only the number but also the size of synaptic vesicles was found to be different in the two main groups of F profiles, i.e. the axonal F1 and dendritic F2 terminals. Measurement of the size of synaptic vesicles in F1 axon terminals revealed two subpopulations of these endings: "F11" and "F12" terminals with vesicle diameters of 31.56 ± 0.08 nm and 33.73 ± 0.12 nm (P < 0.01; Chi2 test) respectively. The size of synaptic vesicles in axonal F12 terminals was identical to that found in F2 dendritic profiles, suggesting that both processes belonged to the same, intrageniculate (interneuronal) cell population. F11 terminals, however, appeared to be axonal endings of extrageniculate (most probably of perigeniculate) neurons. Quantitative analysis of the two types of GABAergic axon terminals revealed the geniculocortical relay cells to be the main postsynaptic targets for F11 (extrageniculate) terminals while F12 axons terminated equally on both interneurons and relay cells. Following chronic decortication of the dLGN, the distribution pattern of both GABAergic axonal types had changed considerably. As a result of a severe loss in relay cells, more F11 and F12 axon terminals were found on GABA-containing interneuronal processes than on relay cells. An increase in the number of F1 axonal terminals per neuron was also revealed, (particularly on GABAergic interneurons), suggesting a compensatory reactive synaptogenesis by both F axonal types following decortication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-574
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1991



  • Cat
  • Chronic deafferentation
  • GABA immunoreaction
  • dLGN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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