Glutamic acid decarboxylase-immunoreactive neurons and terminals in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat.
We have examined the distribution of neurons and terminals that are immunoreactive for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), the synthesizing enzyme for the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid within the lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat. We estimate that GAD-positive neurons constitute approximately one-fourth of the neurons in all layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus and in the medial interlaminar nucleus (MIN). In addition, almost all of the neurons within the perigeniculate nucleus are GAD-positive. The mean size of GAD-positive cell bodies is significantly smaller than the mean size of unlabeled neurons in all subdivisions of the lateral geniculate nucleus. GAD-positive neurons have thick primary dendrites which are associated with thin lightly immunoreactive processes that give rise to clusters of GAD-positive terminals. Clusters of GAD-positive terminals are prominent in lamina A, A1, magnocellular C, and MIN but are rare in the parvocellular C laminae. Within the A laminae, GAD immunoreactivity is found within vesicle-containing profiles of the synaptic glomerulus lying postsynaptic to optic axon terminals and presynaptic to unlabeled dendritic profiles. GAD-positive neurons in the A laminae are distinguished from other small to medium-sized neurons by their failure to label following injections of HRP into visual cortex and by their lack of cytoplasmic laminated body. These results support the idea that GAD-positive neurons constitute a distinct population of neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat; a population which has a number of features in common with previous descriptions of presumed local circuit neurons based on Golgi staining.
Fitzpatrick, D; Penny, GR; Schmechel, DE
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