Author(s): Mugnaini E
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Abstract This article is an application of light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry to the study of the neuronal circuit of the superficial layers in the rat dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN). An antiserum against the intrinsic marker glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) is used to identify and map axon terminals and neurons that use gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) as a neurotransmitter. It is demonstrated that layers 1 and 2 of the DCN contain a very high density of GABAergic boutons, matched only by the granule cell domains of the ventral cochlear nucleus, especially the superficial granule cell domain. These two layers also contain much higher concentrations of GABAergic cell bodies than all other magnocellular regions of the cochlear nuclear complex. Cartwheel and stellate neurons, and probably also Golgi cells, previously characterized in Golgi and electron microscopic investigations, appear immunostained and, therefore, are presumably inhibitory. The synaptic relations between parallel fibers, the axons of granule cells, and cartwheel and stellate neurons are confirmed. The present study also supports the conclusion that stellate cells are coupled to one another by gap junctions. Also scattered in layer 1 are large, GABAergic neurons that occur with irregular frequency and presumably represent displaced Purkinje cells, previously identified with a Purkinje-cell-specific marker. Granule neurons and pyramidal neurons remain unstained, even after topical injection of colchicine, which enhances immunostaining of the other glutamate-decarboxylase-positive cells, and therefore must use transmitters different from GABA. The possible analogies between the spiny cartwheel and the aspiny stellate cells of the DCN and the cerebellar Purkinje and stellate/basket cells are discussed in the light of data from Golgi, electron microscopy, and transmitter imunocytochemistry.
This article was published in J Comp Neurol
and referenced in Otolaryngology: Open Access