Postnatal development of GABA-immunoreactive terminals in the reticular and ventrobasal nuclei of the rat thalamus: A light and electron microscopic study

S. De Biasi, A. Amadeo, P. Arcelli, C. Frassoni, R. Spreafico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The postnatal development of inhibitory GABAergic circuits in the thalamic reticular and ventrobasal nuclei was studied in rats ranging from the day of birth to the end of the third postnatal week by means of a postembedding immunogold staining procedure to visualize GABA. In the reticular nucleus, GABA labeling was present from birth in cell bodies, dendrites, growth cones and a few synaptic terminals, whereas in the ventrobasal nucleus it was exclusively in axonal processes identifiable as growth cones, vesicle-rich profiles and synaptic terminals. In both nuclei, GABA-labeled synaptic terminals were, however, very scarce and immature in neonatal animals and they became numerous and morphologicaIly mature only after the end of the second postnatal week. These findings suggest that inhibitory synaptic responses in the somatosensory thalamus are not yet fully mature throughout the first two postnatal weeks and support the hypothesis that GABA may initially play trophic roles. The relatively late maturation of the thalamic GABAergic system may have important functional consequences, as the reticulothalamic circuits are responsible for the generation of spindle wave oscillations whose cellular mechanisms are also involved in the generation of spike-and-wave (absence) seizures in humans and in animal models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience
Volume76
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997

Keywords

  • Electron microscopy
  • Immunogold staining
  • Inhibition
  • Somatosensory system
  • Synaptic circuits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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