After injections of horseradish peroxidase involving the whole primary (SI) and secondary somatosensory (SII) areas of adult cats, 16-21% out of 2220 counted neurons in the nucleus ventralis posterolateralis were unlabelled. The mean areas of perikarya of these neurons varied between 111.8 ± 32.3 μm2 and 180.8 ± 48.6μm2. The size of perikarya of retrogradely-labelled neuron ranged from 256.9 ± 100.4μm2 to 409 ± 163 μm2. Retrogradely-labelled and unlabelled neurons were examined under light- and high-voltage electron-microscopy. Besides 'large', mainly multipolar or oval fusiform perikarya, retrogradely-labelled neurons may display perikarya of 'small' size. Both types of neurons correlate well with Golgi-impregnated cells with a tufted dendritic pattern usually identified as thalamocortical neurons. On the other hand, the size and morphology of perikarya and initial dendrites of neurons unlabelled by retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase correlate well with that of Golgi-impregnated neurons which are markedly different from the thalamocortical neurons, have very characteristic and profuse dendritic appendages and have been identified by previous investigators as Golgi Type II neurons. In order to probe further whether these may correspond to the GABAergic interneurons proposed by previous evidence, an immunocytochemical approach was also applied at the light- and electron-microscope level, using an antiserum prepared in sheep against rat brain glutamate decarboxylase. By this method it is shown that 19-21% of neurons in the nucleus ventralis posterolateralis of adult cats are glutamate decarboxylase-positive and that the perikaryal size of these labelled neurons ranges between 134.6 ± 44.5μm2 and 164.4 ± 47.3μm2. Histogram distribution of the number and areas of the counted immunoreactive neurons closely matches that of unlabelled neurons in experiments with retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase. The results give support to previous evidence suggesting that part of population of neurons in the nucleus ventralis posterolateralis is represented by a distinct class of neurons which are apparently GABAergic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas