Immunogold electron microscopic demonstration of glutamate and GABA in normal and deafferented cerebellar cortex: Correlation between transmitter content and synaptic vesicle size

J. Hámori, J. Takács, P. Petrusz

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Abstract

Selective labeling of mossy fiber terminals and parallel fibers was obtained in rat cerebellar cortex by a glutamate antibody produced and characterized by Hepler et al. The high-resolution electron microscopic immunogold demonstration of this amino acid offered the possibility of determining the size and shape of synaptic vesicles in glutamate-positive mossy endings. Mossy terminals that stained with the glutamate antibody formed two distinct populations, one with spherical synaptic vesicles with an average diameter of 34.0 nm (more than 90% of all mossy fiber endings) and one with pleomorphic and smaller synaptic vesicles which had an average diameter of 28.5 nm. We present experimental evidence that the mossy terminals with large round vesicles are of extracerebellar origin, whereas those with small pleomorphic synaptic vesicles are endings of nucleocortical fibers. The presence of two distinct classes of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing axon terminals within cerebellar glomeruli has also been demonstrated; those originating from the cerebellar nuclei contain large (36.2 nm) synaptic vesicles, whereas the majority of GABA-stained axon terminals that are of local (cortical) origin contain small (29.1 nm) synaptic vesicles. It therefore appears that, at least in the case of glutamate and GABA, morphological characterization of the axon terminals based on the size and shape of synaptic vesicles is not a reliable indicator of their functional nature (i.e., whether they are excitatory or inhibitory); convincing evidence for the identity of the transmitter can be obtained only by electron microscopic immunostaining procedures. Our results also suggest the existence of both inhibitory and excitatory feedback from cerebellar nuclei to cerebellar cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1767-1777
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Volume38
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1990

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Cerebellar Cortex
Synaptic Vesicles
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Glutamic Acid
Electrons
Presynaptic Terminals
Cerebellar Nuclei
Antibodies
Amino Acids
Population

Keywords

  • Glutamate and GABA immunostaining
  • Mossy fiber terminals
  • Rat cerebellar cortex
  • Synaptic vesicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

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title = "Immunogold electron microscopic demonstration of glutamate and GABA in normal and deafferented cerebellar cortex: Correlation between transmitter content and synaptic vesicle size",
abstract = "Selective labeling of mossy fiber terminals and parallel fibers was obtained in rat cerebellar cortex by a glutamate antibody produced and characterized by Hepler et al. The high-resolution electron microscopic immunogold demonstration of this amino acid offered the possibility of determining the size and shape of synaptic vesicles in glutamate-positive mossy endings. Mossy terminals that stained with the glutamate antibody formed two distinct populations, one with spherical synaptic vesicles with an average diameter of 34.0 nm (more than 90{\%} of all mossy fiber endings) and one with pleomorphic and smaller synaptic vesicles which had an average diameter of 28.5 nm. We present experimental evidence that the mossy terminals with large round vesicles are of extracerebellar origin, whereas those with small pleomorphic synaptic vesicles are endings of nucleocortical fibers. The presence of two distinct classes of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing axon terminals within cerebellar glomeruli has also been demonstrated; those originating from the cerebellar nuclei contain large (36.2 nm) synaptic vesicles, whereas the majority of GABA-stained axon terminals that are of local (cortical) origin contain small (29.1 nm) synaptic vesicles. It therefore appears that, at least in the case of glutamate and GABA, morphological characterization of the axon terminals based on the size and shape of synaptic vesicles is not a reliable indicator of their functional nature (i.e., whether they are excitatory or inhibitory); convincing evidence for the identity of the transmitter can be obtained only by electron microscopic immunostaining procedures. Our results also suggest the existence of both inhibitory and excitatory feedback from cerebellar nuclei to cerebellar cortex.",
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author = "J. H{\'a}mori and J. Tak{\'a}cs and P. Petrusz",
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T1 - Immunogold electron microscopic demonstration of glutamate and GABA in normal and deafferented cerebellar cortex

T2 - Correlation between transmitter content and synaptic vesicle size

AU - Hámori, J.

AU - Takács, J.

AU - Petrusz, P.

PY - 1990

Y1 - 1990

N2 - Selective labeling of mossy fiber terminals and parallel fibers was obtained in rat cerebellar cortex by a glutamate antibody produced and characterized by Hepler et al. The high-resolution electron microscopic immunogold demonstration of this amino acid offered the possibility of determining the size and shape of synaptic vesicles in glutamate-positive mossy endings. Mossy terminals that stained with the glutamate antibody formed two distinct populations, one with spherical synaptic vesicles with an average diameter of 34.0 nm (more than 90% of all mossy fiber endings) and one with pleomorphic and smaller synaptic vesicles which had an average diameter of 28.5 nm. We present experimental evidence that the mossy terminals with large round vesicles are of extracerebellar origin, whereas those with small pleomorphic synaptic vesicles are endings of nucleocortical fibers. The presence of two distinct classes of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing axon terminals within cerebellar glomeruli has also been demonstrated; those originating from the cerebellar nuclei contain large (36.2 nm) synaptic vesicles, whereas the majority of GABA-stained axon terminals that are of local (cortical) origin contain small (29.1 nm) synaptic vesicles. It therefore appears that, at least in the case of glutamate and GABA, morphological characterization of the axon terminals based on the size and shape of synaptic vesicles is not a reliable indicator of their functional nature (i.e., whether they are excitatory or inhibitory); convincing evidence for the identity of the transmitter can be obtained only by electron microscopic immunostaining procedures. Our results also suggest the existence of both inhibitory and excitatory feedback from cerebellar nuclei to cerebellar cortex.

AB - Selective labeling of mossy fiber terminals and parallel fibers was obtained in rat cerebellar cortex by a glutamate antibody produced and characterized by Hepler et al. The high-resolution electron microscopic immunogold demonstration of this amino acid offered the possibility of determining the size and shape of synaptic vesicles in glutamate-positive mossy endings. Mossy terminals that stained with the glutamate antibody formed two distinct populations, one with spherical synaptic vesicles with an average diameter of 34.0 nm (more than 90% of all mossy fiber endings) and one with pleomorphic and smaller synaptic vesicles which had an average diameter of 28.5 nm. We present experimental evidence that the mossy terminals with large round vesicles are of extracerebellar origin, whereas those with small pleomorphic synaptic vesicles are endings of nucleocortical fibers. The presence of two distinct classes of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing axon terminals within cerebellar glomeruli has also been demonstrated; those originating from the cerebellar nuclei contain large (36.2 nm) synaptic vesicles, whereas the majority of GABA-stained axon terminals that are of local (cortical) origin contain small (29.1 nm) synaptic vesicles. It therefore appears that, at least in the case of glutamate and GABA, morphological characterization of the axon terminals based on the size and shape of synaptic vesicles is not a reliable indicator of their functional nature (i.e., whether they are excitatory or inhibitory); convincing evidence for the identity of the transmitter can be obtained only by electron microscopic immunostaining procedures. Our results also suggest the existence of both inhibitory and excitatory feedback from cerebellar nuclei to cerebellar cortex.

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