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Quantitative analyses of synaptic contacts of interneurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the squirrel monkey

  • James R. Wilson (a1), Donna M. Forestner (a1) and Ryan P. Cramer (a1)

Abstract

Three interneurons were recorded from and then injected with horseradish peroxidase in the parvocellular laminae of the squirrel monkey's (Saimiri sciureus) dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. They were then examined using the electron microscope for their synaptic contacts, both the afferent contacts onto their dendrites and their presynaptic dendritic contacts onto presumptive projection (relay) neuron dendrites. The somata of these interneurons were small (mean = 178 μm2), but the dendritic trees were large compared with those of projection neurons. All three interneurons had similar synaptic patterns onto their dendrites with about equal numbers of retinal, cortical, and GABAergic contacts. The distribution of these contacts was more uniform compared with the same types of contacts made onto projection neurons. The presynaptic dendrites were observed to contact only the dendrites of presumptive projection neurons, and these contacts were nearly all in the form of geniculate triads. None of the three interneurons displayed an axon. The receptive fields of these interneurons were similar to those of projection cells, but were larger and had center-response signs that were the opposite of the projection neurons around them (e.g. OFF center for the dorsal part of the parvocellular mass where ON-center projection neurons reside). The squirrel monkey data provides additional evidence that one aspect of the laminar pattern observed in the parvocellular pathway of the primate's dLGN might be related to a segregation of projection neurons of one center-response sign with interneurons of the opposite center-response sign.

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