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J Comp Neurol. 1987 Jun 1;260(1):1-19.

Evidence for interlaminar inhibitory circuits in the striate cortex of the cat.


An interlaminar, ascending, and GABAergic projection is demonstrated in the striate cortex of the cat. We have examined a basket cell, with soma and smooth dendrites in layers V and VI, that was injected intracellularly with HRP in the kitten. Three-dimensional reconstruction of its axon revealed a horizontal plexus in layer V and upper VI, extending about 1.8 mm anteroposteriorly and 0.8 mm mediolaterally; a dense termination in the vicinity of the soma in layers V and VI; and an ascending tuft terminating in layers II and III in register above the soma and about 250 microns in diameter. Many boutons of this cell contacted neuronal somata and apical dendrites of pyramidal cells and subsequent electron microscopy showed that these boutons formed type II synaptic contacts with these structures. A random sample of postsynaptic targets (n = 199) in layers III, V, and VI showed that somata (20.1%), dendritic shafts (38.2%), and dendritic spines (41.2%) were contacted. The fine structural characteristics of postsynaptic elements indicated that the majority originated from pyramidal cells. Direct identification of postsynaptic neurons was achieved by Golgi impregnation of four large pyramidal cells in layer V, which were contacted on their somata and apical dendrites by between three and 34 boutons of the HRP-filled basket cell. Layer IV neurons were not contacted. Golgi-impregnated neurons similar to the HRP-filled basket cell were also found in the deep layers. The axonal boutons of one of them were studied; it also formed type II synapses with somata and apical dendrites of pyramidal cells. Boutons of the HRP-filled neuron were shown to be GABA-immunoreactive by the immunogold method. This is direct evidence in favour of the GABAergic nature of deep layer basket cells with ascending projections. The existence of an ascending GABAergic pathway was also demonstrated by injecting [3H]GABA into layers II and III. The labelled amino acid was transported retrogradely by a subpopulation of GABA-immunoreactive cells in layers V and VI, in addition to cells around the injection site. The axonal pattern and mode of termination of deep basket cells make them a candidate for producing or enhancing directional selectivity, a characteristic of layer V cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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