Send to

Choose Destination
J Physiol. 1994 Sep 1;479 ( Pt 2):217-31.

Lemniscal and non-lemniscal synaptic transmission in rat auditory thalamus.

Author information

Loeb Research Institute, Ottawa Civic Hospital, Canada.


1. The central auditory pathway linking the inferior colliculus (IC) and the medial geniculate body (MGB) of the thalamus consists of a segregated ventral lemniscal and dorsal non-lemniscal projection whose synaptic transmission mechanisms remain unknown. Extracellular and intracellular recordings combined with axonal tract tracing and cell staining were made from lemniscal and non-lemniscal divisions of adult rat MGB maintained acutely in in vitro explants containing parallel tectothalamic projections. 2. Biocytin deposition within the brachium of the IC revealed dense axonal fibres projecting to the MGB. Thin axonal terminals were found throughout the ventral (MGv) and dorsal (MGd) divisions of the MGB. Bushy cells with tufted or bitufted dendritic branches were primarily found in the MGv. In the MGd, cells were mainly seen as stellate neurones having a radiate dendritic arbor. 3. Electrical stimulation of the brachium of IC invariably elicits fast, excitatory synaptic potentials in both MGv and MGd cells. The evoked responses occurred monosynaptically and were exclusively mediated by glutamate acting on both N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptors. Non-lemniscal MGd neurones recorded extracellularly exhibited a strong tendency to discharge in bursts in response to brachium stimulation. In contrast, a large proportion of ventral lemniscal cells tended to discharge in single or dual spikes. Intracellularly, MGd cells, but not MGv cells, showed a predominant, slow synaptic potential mediated by NMDA receptors. 4. It is concluded that the central auditory circuitry linking the tectum and the thalamus is connected monosynaptically via glutamatergic synapses. Lemniscal and non-lemniscal thalamic neurones possess distinct response properties which cannot be accounted for by a differential transmitter system or polysynaptic delays as postulated previously.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center