GABA-immunoreactive neurons in the mushroom bodies of the honeybee: an electron microscopic study

J Comp Neurol. 2001 Aug 27;437(3):335-49. doi: 10.1002/cne.1287.


Synaptic contacts of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) -immunoreactive neurons in honeybee mushroom bodies were studied by using electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. In the lip region of the calyx neuropil, GABA-immunoreactive profiles formed synapses onto both small postsynaptic profiles (76%) and large immunonegative boutons (4%), which were likely to belong to the intrinsic and extrinsic mushroom body neurons, respectively. Three morphologic types of the large immunonegative boutons were distinguished: "light," "dark," and "dense core"; all of them received synaptic inputs from the GABA-immunoreactive profiles. A significant proportion of the synapses formed by the GABA-immunoreactive neurons in the lip region (20%) were input synapses from immunonegative neurons. Analysis of thin serial sections showed that the output and input synapses formed microcircuits in which both large immunonegative boutons and small postsynaptic profiles were involved. We interpret these findings to show that negative feedforward and feedback loops exist within the microcircuits of the lip region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / cytology*
  • Bees / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid