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Brain Res. 2003 Aug 1;980(1):80-91.

Synaptic organization of the rat parafascicular nucleus, with special reference to its afferents from the superior colliculus and the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus.

Author information

1
Section of Neuroanatomy, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Research, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.

Abstract

The synaptic organization of afferents to the parafascicular nucleus (Pf) of the thalamus was studied in rats. In the Pf, three types of axon terminals were identified: the first type was a small terminal with round synaptic vesicles forming an asymmetric synapse, the second type was a large terminal with round synaptic vesicles forming an asymmetric synapse, and the third type was a terminal with pleomorphic vesicles forming a symmetric synapse. They were named SR, LR and P boutons, respectively. In order to determine the origin of these axon terminals, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) was injected into the main afferent sources of the Pf, the superior colliculus (SC) and the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN). Axon terminals from the SC were both SR and LR boutons which made synaptic contacts with somata and dendrites. PPN afferents were SR boutons, which made synaptic contacts with somata and smaller dendrites. Double-labeled electron microscopic studies, in which a retrograde tracer (wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase: WGA-HRP) was injected into the striatum and an anterograde tracer (BDA) into the SC revealed that SC afferent terminals made synapses directly with Pf neurons that projected to the striatum. Another experiment was performed to find out whether two different afferents converged onto a single Pf neuron. To address this question, two different tracers were injected into the SC and PPN in a rat. Electron microscopically, both afferent terminals from the SC and PPN made synaptic contacts with the same dendrite. Our results prove that a single neuron of the rat Pf received convergent projections from two different sources.

PMID:
12865161
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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