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Exp Brain Res. 1986;64(3):541-52.

Synaptic targets of HRP-filled layer III pyramidal cells in the cat striate cortex.


There are numerous hypotheses for the role of the axon collaterals of pyramidal cells. Most hypotheses predict that pyramidal cells activate specific classes of postsynaptic cells. We have studied the postsynaptic targets of two layer III pyramidal cells, that were of special interest because of their clumped axon arborization near, and also 0.4-1.0 mm from the cell body, in register in both layers III and V. 191 terminations from four sites (layers III and V, both in the column of the cell and in distant clumps) were analysed by electron microscopy. Only one bouton contacted a cell body and that was immunoreactive for GABA. The major targets were dendritic spines (84 and 87%), and the remainder were dendritic shafts. Of these 13 were classed as pyramidal-like (P), 8 smooth cell-like (S) and three could not be classified. Four of five S types, but none of the seven P types tested were immunoreactive for GABA, supporting the fine structural classification. The putative inhibitory cells therefore formed not more than 5% of the postsynaptic targets, and their activation could only take place through the convergence of pyramidal cells onto a select population of GABA cells. The results show that the type of pyramidal cells with clumped axons studied here make contacts predominantly with other pyramidal cells. Thus the primary role of both the intra and intercolumnar collateral systems is the activation of other excitatory cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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