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J Comp Neurol. 1991 Mar 15;305(3):370-92.

Targets of horizontal connections in macaque primary visual cortex.

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Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.


Pyramidal neurons within the cerebral cortex are known to make long-range horizontal connections via an extensive axonal collateral system. The synaptic characteristics and specificities of these connections were studied at the ultrastructural level. Two superficial layer pyramidal cells in the primate striate cortex were labeled by intracellular injections with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and their axon terminals were subsequently examined with the technique of electron microscopic (EM) serial reconstruction. At the light microscopic level both cells showed the characteristic pattern of widespread, clustered axon collaterals. We examined collateral clusters located near the dendritic field (proximal) and approximately 0.5 mm away (distal). The synapses were of the asymmetric/round vesicle variety (type I), and were therefore presumably excitatory. Three-quarters of the postsynaptic targets were the dendritic spines of other pyramidal cells. A few of the axodendritic synapses were with the shafts of pyramidal cells, bringing the proportion of pyramidal cell targets to 80%. The remaining labeled endings were made with the dendritic shafts of smooth stellate cells, which are presumed to be (GABA)ergic inhibitory cells. On the basis of serial reconstruction of a few of these cells and their dendrites, a likely candidate for one target inhibitory cell is the small-medium basket cell. Taken together, this pattern of outputs suggests a mixture of postsynaptic effects mediated by consequence the horizontal connections may well be the substrate for the variety of influences observed between the receptive field center and its surround.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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