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J Neurosci. 1994 Apr;14(4):2032-46.

Neurotransmitter profile of saccadic omnipause neurons in nucleus raphe interpositus.

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Institute of Neuropathology, University of Munich, Germany.


Saccadic omnipause neurons (OPNs) are essential for the generation of saccadic eye movements. In primates OPNs are located near the midline within the nucleus raphe interpositus (rip). In the present study we used several different neuroanatomical methods to investigate the transmitters associated with OPNs in the monkey. Immunolabeling for the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin was employed to mark OPNs in the monkey and define the homologous cell group in cat and human. The use of antibodies against GABA, glycine (GLY), glutamate (GLU), serotonin (5-HT), and tyrosine hydroxylase revealed that the somata of OPNs are GLY immunoreactive, but they are devoid of GABA and 5-HT immunostaining. In situ hybridization with the GAD67 mRNA probe confirmed the negative GABA immunostaining of OPNs. 3H-GLY was injected into a projection field of OPNs, the rostral interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle (riMLF)--the vertical saccadic burst neuron area. This resulted in selective retrograde labeling of the OPNs in rip, while no labeling was found in the superior colliculus, which sends an excitatory projection to the riMLF. The somata and dendrites of putative burst neurons in the riMLF were contacted by numerous GLY-immunoreactive terminals. The quantitative analysis of immunoreactive terminal-like structures contacting OPNs revealed a strong input from GLY- and GABA-positive terminals on somata and dendrites, whereas GLU-positive puncta were mainly confined to the dendrites. Very few 5-HT and catecholaminergic terminals contacted OPN somata. Our findings suggest that OPNs use GLY as a neurotransmitter, and they receive numerous contacts from GABAergic, glycinergic, and glutaminergic afferents, and significantly fewer from monoaminergic inputs.

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