The goal of this present study was to derive a new estimate of the synaptic contribution of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) to the subdivisions of its main recipient layer, layer 4C, of striate cortex of macaque monkey. The projection from the dLGN and its terminal boutons within layer 4C were visualized by immunodetection of the calcium binding protein, parvalbumin (PV), which is expressed in relay cells of the dLGN. The proportion of asymmetric synapses formed by PV-positive boutons within the alpha and beta sublayers of 4C was estimated by using a nonbiased stereological counting method. The proportion of asymmetric synapses contributed by the PV-positive boutons to layer 4Calpha is 8.7%; to 4Cbeta is 6.9%. Assuming all the PV-positive asymmetric synapses derive from the dLGN relay cells, this gives a ratio of dLGN synapses per neuron of 192 in layer 4Calpha and 128 in layer 4Cbeta. Thus, the recurrent excitatory input from neighboring cortical neurons must play an important part in responses of the neurons lying at the input stage of the cortical circuit.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.