In an extension of our previous light microscopic observations, a type of neuron which shows GABA-like immunoreactivity was identified and described in the ectostriatal core of young domestic chicks, using pre- and postembedding electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. Large GABA immunopositive (GABA+) cells are characterized by an ovoidal or polygonal soma of 12-16 μm diameter, uniformly distributed nuclear chromatin, a prominent Golgi apparatus and an abundance of rough endoplasmic reticulum. In addition to axodendritic terminals, large GABA neurons receive numerous axosomatic synapses of both symmetrical and asymmetrical types covering a substantial part of their perikaryal surface. Axosomatic terminals with symmetrical junctions are usually immunoreactive to GABA whereas the boutons with asymmetrical synaptic specialization are immunonegative. GABA+ boutons also synapse with dendritic spine necks presumably belonging to projection neurons. These terminals usually contain loosely packed synaptic vesicles without any marked accumulation near the synaptic cleft. Large GABA+ terminals with densely packed vesicles were found to synapse with axon hillocks. Based on known descriptions of ectostriatal cytoarchitecture and synaptology, it is suggested that the GABA+ cells of chick ectostriatum represent inhibitory interneurons which may be equivalent to GABAergic non-pyramidal neuronal types of mammalian visual cortex. GABA+ axosomatic synapses afferent to large GABA cells are likely to form the structural basis for a disinhibitory mechanism in the avian ectostriatum.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology