The cat's lateralis medialis-suprageniculate nuclear complex (LM-Sg) in the thalamus receives input from various brain regions such as the superior colliculus, brain stem, and spinal cord, as well as from visual association cortex. In a previous study, we demonstrated that LM-Sg receives cholinergic fibers from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) and that cholinergic terminals make synaptic contacts with the dendrites of glutamatergic projection neurons and of GABAergic interneurons (Hoshino et al., 1997). In this study, we investigate the distribution and the organization of PPT terminals by means of a combined anterograde tracer (biotinylated dextran amine, BDA) and immunohistochemical methods. When stained by acetylcholinesterase (ACHE), the LM-Sg is not uniformly immunoreactive, but rather is patchily labeled and shows a streaming type of reactivity. The tissue content appears high in enzyme activity in AChE-positive zones and is much lighter in activity in AChE-negative zones. We compared the synaptic organization between AChE-positive and AChE-negative portions of the LM-Sg in separate groups of electron-microscopic material: four types of vesicle containing profiles (RS, RL, FI, and PSD) as well as synaptic glomeruli were observed in this nucleus. Among these, the PSD profiles were observed more frequently in AChE-positive portions than in AChE-negative zones. Furthermore, the number of glomeruli was significantly higher in AChE-positive than in AChE-negative zones. Following the injection of BDA into PPT, labeled terminals within LM-Sg were rather more concentrated in the AChE-positive portion. Although the majority of PPT terminals made synaptic contacts with dendrites in the neuropil, a few terminals were involved in the synaptic glomeruli. The present results show that the synaptic organization is distinctly different between the AChE-positive and AChE-negative portions of LM-Sg. These results suggest that the AChE-positive portions of LM-Sg are relatively more involved in integrating information arising from a diverse set of inputs and processing that information within glomeruli in a complex manner than occurs in the AChE-negative portion of LM-Sg.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems