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Brain Res. 1992 May 15;580(1-2):215-24.

Cortical input to parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurones in the putamen of the squirrel monkey.

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MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, Oxford, UK.


The cortex projects heavily to the striatum and makes asymmetrical synaptic contact mainly with the spines of medium-sized densely spiny neurones. The possibility exists that corticostriatal terminals also make synaptic contact with classes of striatal interneurones. The primary objective of the present experiment was to determine whether parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurones, which represent a class of GABAergic interneurones in the striatum, also receive a direct synaptic input from corticostriatal fibres. The anterograde tracer biocytin was injected into the motor and premotor cortices of the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). Following perfuse-fixation, sections of the striatum were processed histochemically to reveal the transported biocytin using an avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex and diaminobenzidine as the chromogen. They were then immunostained to reveal parvalbumin using benzidine dihydrochloride as the chromogen. In both the light and electron microscopes, the morphological features and the afferent synaptic input of the parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurones were similar to those observed in other species. Similarly, the morphology and postsynaptic targets of the corticostriatal terminals were similar to those described in other species. Light microscopic examination revealed that the anterogradely labelled corticostriatal terminals were often in close apposition to the parvalbumin-positive neurones. At the electron microscopic level the biocytin-positive corticostriatal terminals were found to make asymmetrical synaptic contacts mainly with spines. The parvalbumin-positive neurones were seen to have an invaginated nucleus, extensive cytoplasm and relatively few spines. Parvalbumin-immunoreactive dendrites received a dense synaptic input consisting mainly of asymmetric synapses and only a few symmetric synapses. Biocytin-labelled corticostriatal terminals were often seen in asymmetrical synaptic contact with parvalbumin-immunoreactive dendrites. These results show that GABAergic interneurones identified on the basis of parvalbumin immunoreactivity, in addition to the projection neurones of the striatum, are under the direct influence of the cerebral cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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