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Brain Res. 1992 Oct 30;594(2):253-62.

Ultrastructural examination of enkephalin and substance P input to cholinergic neurons within the rat neostriatum.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego 92093.


Enkephalin and substance P-containing inputs to cholinergic perikarya were examined in the rat neostriatum using an ultrastructural immunocytochemical double-labeling protocol. Sections of rat neostriatum were double-labeled for either choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and substance P or ChAT and enkephalin using silver intensified colloidal gold and peroxidase as labels. Regions containing both ChAT-positive neurons and peroxidase reaction product were identified in the light microscope prior to sectioning for electron microscopy. Substance P-containing terminals which contained round synaptic vesicles and made symmetrical synaptic contacts were commonly observed in the neostriatum. Substance P synapses onto ChAT-positive perikarya and dendrites were frequently observed: up to 5 synaptic contacts were observed onto a ChAT-positive dendrite. Enkephalin labeling was also seen in a population of axon terminals containing round synaptic vesicles and exhibiting symmetrical synaptic specializations. In contrast to substance P-containing terminals, relatively few synaptic contacts were observed onto ChAT-positive labeled perikarya and dendrites although enkephalin-labeled terminals were seen in frequent contact with perikarya and dendrites of unlabeled spiny neurons. Since enkephalin and substance P are contained within different populations of striatal spiny neurons, the results of the present study suggest that these two types of neurons differ in their intrinsic striatal connections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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