Glutamate-positive corticocortical neurons in the somatic sensory areas I and II of cats

F. Conti, M. Fabri, T. Manzoni

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Combined retrograde transport-immunocytochemical experiments were carried out on cats to study the morphology, laminar distribution, and percentages of corticocortical projecting neurons of somatosensory area I (SI) and II (SII) showing immunoreactivity to an antiserum raised against the amino acid glutamate (Glu). A previously characterized anti-Glu serum (Conti et al., 1987a, b; Hepler et al., 1987) was used in conjunction with HRP. This tracer was injected either in SI to label retrogradely neurons in ipsilateral SII (SII-SI association neurons) and contralateral SI (SI-SI callosal neurons) or in SII to label retrogradely neurons in ipsilateral SI (SI-SII association neurons) and contralateral SII (SII-SII callosal neurons). In sections from SI and SII processed for simultaneous visualization of Glu and HRP (Bowker et al., 1982), and containing the cells from which every one of the 4 corticocortical projections arise, 3 types of labeled neurons were observed: (1) single-labeled neurons showing the homogeneous brown immunoreaction product of Glu (Glu-positive neurons); (2) single-labeled neurons containing the granular black reaction product of retrogradely transported HRP (Glu-negative, association or callosal neurons); and (3) double-labeled neurons in which both the black HRP granules and the brown immunostaining were present (Glu-positive, association or callosal neurons). Double-labeled neurons were all pyramidal in shape and were distributed intermingled with Glu-negative corticocortical neurons in all layers of SI and SII known to give rise to association and callosal projections. Counts from 25-μm-thick sections showed that of 432 association and callosal neurons sampled from SI and SII, 214 (49.5%) were Glu-negative and 218 (50.5%) Glu-positive. In counts carried out on 5-μm-thick sections, the percentage of Glu-positive corticocortical neurons raised to about 70%. The 2 populations of single- and double-labeled corticocortical neurons showed no difference in their perikaryal cross-sectional areas. The present results show that a large fraction of association and callosal neurons of SI and SII are immunoreactive for Glu, and therefore, these neurons probably use this excitatory amino acid, or a closely related compound, as neurotransmitter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2948-2960
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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