Send to

Choose Destination
J Comp Neurol. 2000 May 29;421(2):161-71.

GABA neurons provide a rich input to microvessels but not nitric oxide neurons in the rat cerebral cortex: a means for direct regulation of local cerebral blood flow.

Author information

Laboratory of Cerebrovascular Research, Complex Neural Systems Unit, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Québec H3A 2B4, Canada.


Basal forebrain neurons project to microvessels and the somata of nitric oxide (NO) synthase-containing neurons in the cerebral cortex, and their stimulation results in increases in cortical perfusion. gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the second major neurotransmitter synthesized by these neurons and it has also been reported to modify cerebromicrovascular tone. We thus investigated by light and electron microscopy the association of GABA neurons (labeled for glutamic acid decarboxylase [GAD]) with cortical microvessels and/or NO neurons (identified by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide [NADPH-D] histochemistry) within the frontoparietal and perirhinal cerebral cortex in the rat. On thick and semithin sections, a high density of GAD puncta was observed, several surrounded intracortical blood vessels and neuronal perikarya. In contrast, NADPH-D cell somata and proximal dendrites were only occasionally contacted by GAD nerve terminals. Perivascular and perisomatic GAD appositions were identified at the ultrastructural level as large (0.44-0.50 microm(2)) neuronal varicosities located in the immediate vicinity of, or being directly apposed to, vessels or unstained neuronal cell bodies. In both cortical areas, perivascular GAD terminals were located at about 1 microm from the vessels and were seen to frequently establish junctional contacts (synaptic frequency of 25-40% in single thin sections) with adjacent neuronal but not vascular elements. Ibotenic or quisqualic acid lesion of the substantia innominata did not significantly affect the density of cortical and perivascular GAD terminals, suggesting that they mostly originated locally in the cortex. These results suggest that GABA terminals can interact directly with the microvascular bed and that the somata and proximal dendrites of NO neurons are not a major target for cortical GABA neurotransmission. However, based on the colocalization of GABA and NADPH-D in a subset of cortical neurons, we suggest that these interneurons could be implicated in the cortical vascular response elicited by stimulation of basal forebrain neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center