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J Comp Neurol. 1988 Jul 22;273(4):513-26.

Immunocytochemical localization of glutamate decarboxylase in the rat basolateral amygdaloid nucleus, with special reference to GABAergic innervation of amygdalostriatal projection neurons.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville 22908.


Glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) immunohistochemistry was employed at the light and electron microscopic levels to localize GABAergic structures in the basolateral amygdaloid nucleus (BL). The GAD-immunoreactive (GAD-IR) staining pattern consisted of punctate structures and a morphologically diverse group of GAD-IR neurons. At the electron microscopic level many of these punctate structures were found to make symmetrical synaptic contacts with cell bodies as well as distal parts of unlabeled, presumably projection and nonprojection, neurons. In addition, GAD-immunoreactive neurons were identified in the BL, and they had the ultrastructural characteristics of local circuit or intrinsic neurons and were not retrogradely labeled with HRP following ventral striatal injections. Some of these GAD-immunoreactive neurons were contacted by GABAergic boutons, forming symmetrical synaptic contacts. GABAergic innervation of amygdaloid projection neurons in the BL was identified by combining GAD immunohistochemistry with Golgi impregnation and retrograde tracing of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) following injections of the tracer in the olfactory-tubercle-related parts of the ventral striatum. Amygdalostriatal projection neurons in the BL were observed to be in continuity with neurons in the piriform cortex which project to the ventral striatum. The results provide direct evidence for the presence of GAD-IR boutons in the BL making synaptic contacts with identified amygdalostriatal projection neurons. The present study provides direct anatomical evidence for the physiological observation that GABA exhibits a powerful regulation of the amygdaloid projection neurons in the BL and lends further support to the concept of a corticallike functional organization of the basolateral amygdala.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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