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J Comp Neurol. 1992 May 1;319(1):172-90.

Patterns of GABAergic immunoreactivity define subdivisions of the mustached bat's medial geniculate body.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720-2097.


The anatomy and the spatial distribution of neurons and axonal endings (puncta) immunoreactive for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) or gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were studied in the medial geniculate body of the mustached bat (Pteronotus parnellii). The principal findings are that: 1) most GABAergic neurons are present in the dorsal and ventral divisions with few, if any, in the medial division; 2) only a small fraction, about 1% or less, of auditory thalamic neurons are immunopositive; 3) the density of immunoreactive puncta is independent on the number of GABAergic neurons in the thalamic divisions, with the ventral division having the largest number/unit area, the medial division about 75% of this value, and the dorsal division only about 50%; and 4) the form of the puncta was unique to each division, those in the ventral division being medium-sized and comparatively simple, those in the medial division predominantly large, coarse, and complex, while dorsal division ending were finer and more delicate. These patterns recapitulate, with some significant exceptions, those found in the rat and cat. The puncta could originate from several sources; while many may arise from intrinsic GABAergic Golgi type II local circuit neurons, these cells may not be the only or even the principal source. Thus, the dorsal division contains comparatively many immunopositive cells though fewer puncta than might be expected if the bulk of these were to arise from auditory thalamic interneurons. This suggests that other, extrinsic sources, such as the thalamic reticular nucleus, may be the source of such endings. A second point is that the form and density of the puncta is regionally specific within the medial geniculate complex. These local patterns might have a significant and regionally specific role in controlling the differential excitability of auditory thalamic neurons. The distribution of presumptive synaptic endings also has implications for the number and arrangement of glomeruli or synaptic nests. Thus, these circuit elements, which are common to the thalamic nuclei in other species, might play an important role in local synaptic circuits between different types of cells. If so, then the structural variations embodied in these patterns could subserve functional arrangements that differ among species. Such patterns might reflect concomitant physiological differences in the organization of local circuits within the microchiropteran medial geniculate body.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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