Morphology of thalamocortical neurons projecting to the primary somatosensory cortex and their relationship to spinothalamic terminals in the squirrel monkey

Ting Shi, A. Vania Apkarian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the morphology of thalamocortical neurons projecting to the primary somatosensory cortex (SI; hand region of areas 3a, 3b, 1, and 2) and their relationship to the spinothalamic (STT) terminals in the squirrel monkey. Retrogradely labeled thalamocortical neurons were intracellularly filled with Lucifer yellow (LY), and the STT terminals were anterogradely labeled with biotinylated dextran. Both filled neurons and labeled terminals were differentially visualized in the same field by a dual immunocytochemical staining method. SI‐projecting neurons appeared at the light level to be in contact with STT terminal boutons in the ventroposterior lateral (VPL), ventroposterior inferior (VPI), and centrolateral (CL) nuclei and the posterior complex (PO). The analyses of the neuronal morphology revealed that somatic and dendritic morphologies of SI‐projecting neurons in these thalamic nuclei, as well as in the anterior pulvinlar (Pub), centromedial (CM), and ventrolateral (VL) nuclei, were generally comparable with some exceptions: VPL neurons had the largest soma sizes, the most primary dendrites, and the longest total dendritic length among all neurons studied; VPI neurons had the smallest soma sizes; VPL SI‐projecting neurons were different from those in VPI in their soma sizes, shape factors, and orientations; in VPL the cells projecting to the superficial layers of SI were smaller than those projecting to the deeper layers, but in VPI the two groups of neurons were similar in soma sizes. In general, the SI‐projecting neurons in VPL, VPI, and CL were similar in their dendritic morphologies and branching patterns, and varied from those in Pub, PO, CM, and VL. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume361
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 9 1995

Keywords

  • anterograde
  • biotinylated dextran
  • fractal dimension
  • intracellular injection
  • retrograde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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