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J Comp Neurol. 1994 Mar 1;341(1):16-24.

Synaptic output of physiologically identified spiny stellate neurons in cat visual cortex.

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Medical Research Council Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Spiny stellate neurons of area 17 of the cat's visual cortex were physiologically characterised and injected intracellularly with horseradish peroxidase. Six neurons from sublamina 4A were selected. Five had the S-type of simple receptive fields; one had a complex receptive field. Their axons formed boutons mainly in layers 3 and 4. An electron microscopic examination of 45 boutons showed that each bouton formed one asymmetric synapse on average. Spines were the most frequent synaptic target (74%); dendritic shafts formed the remainder (26%). On the basis of ultrastructural characteristics, 8% of the target dendrites were characterised as originating from smooth gamma-aminobutyrate-ergic (GABAergic) neurons. Thus the major output of spiny stellate neurons is to other spiny neurons, probably pyramidal neurons in layer 3 and spiny stellates in layer 4.

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