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J Chem Neuroanat. 2009 Oct;38(2):106-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2009.05.002. Epub 2009 May 14.

Regional and laminar distribution of the vesicular glutamate transporter, VGluT2, in the macaque monkey auditory cortex.

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Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


The auditory cortex of primates contains 13 areas distributed among 3 hierarchically connected regions: core, belt, and parabelt. Thalamocortical inputs arise in parallel from four divisions of the medial geniculate complex (MGC), which have regionally distinct projection patterns. These inputs terminate in layers IIIb and/or IV, and are assumed to be glutamatergic, although this has not been verified. In the present study, immunoreactivity (-ir) for the vesicular glutamate transporter, VGluT2, was used to estimate the regional and laminar distribution of the glutamatergic thalamocortical projection in the macaque auditory cortex. Coronal sections containing auditory cortex were processed for VGluT2 and other markers concentrated in the thalamorecipient layers: cytochrome oxidase, acetylcholinesterase, and parvalbumin. Marker expression was studied with wide field and confocal microscopy. The main findings were: (1) VGluT2-ir was highest in the core, intermediate in the belt, and sparse in the parabelt; (2) VGluT2-ir was concentrated in the neuropil of layers IIIb/IV in the core and layer IIIb in the belt; (3) VGluT2-ir matched regional and laminar expression of the other chemoarchitectonic markers. The results indicate that the glutamatergic thalamic projection to auditory cortex, as indexed by VGluT2-ir, varies along the core-belt-parabelt axis in a manner that matches the gradients of other markers. These chemoarchitectonic features are likely to subserve regional differences in neuronal activity between regions of auditory cortex.

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