Intraglomerular dendritic tufts of Golgi-impregnated and biotinylated dextran amine (BDA)-labeled mitral cells in the rat main olfactory bulb were analyzed in detail. In particular, the relationships of BDA-labeled tufts with olfactory nerve (ON) terminals and processes of calbindin D-28K-immunoreactive (CB-IR) cells were investigated with confocal laser-scanning light microscopic (CLSM) and electron microscopic (EM) analyses. CB-IR cells were type 2 periglomerular cells that restricted their processes in the ON-free (non-ON) zone of the glomerulus and received few synapses from ON terminals. The mitral tufts varied in complexity, but individual branches were rather simple, smooth processes that bore some branchlets and spines and extended more or less in a straight line or a gentle curve rather than winding tortuously within glomeruli as though they did not consider the compartmental organization, which consisted of ON and non-ON zones that interdigitated in a complex manner with one another. Conventional EM analysis revealed that both thin and thick, presumed proximal branches of mitral/tufted cell dendritic tufts received asymmetrical synapses from ON terminals. Correlated CLSM-EM analysis confirmed direct contacts between the BDA- and CB-labeled processes detected in the CLSM examinations, and synapses were recognized at some of those sites. Furthermore, ON terminals and CB-IR processes were distributed on both proximal and distal dendritic branches in a more or less mosaic pattern. These findings revealed that, on the mitral dendritic tufts, ON terminals and processes of type 2 periglomerular neurons were not clearly segregated proximodistally but, rather, were arranged in a mosaic pattern, which may be important in fine tuning the output from individual glomeruli.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.