The striatum and the globus pallidus send convergent synaptic inputs onto single cells in the entopeduncular nucleus of the rat: a double anterograde labelling study combined with postembedding immunocytochemistry for GABA

J Comp Neurol. 1992 Jul 15;321(3):456-76. doi: 10.1002/cne.903210312.


The entopeduncular nucleus is one of the major output stations of the basal ganglia. In order to better understand the role of this structure in information flow through the basal ganglia, experiments have been performed in the rat to examine the chemical nature, morphology, and synaptology of the projections from the globus pallidus and striatum to the entopeduncular nucleus. In order to examine the morphology and synaptology of pallidoentopeduncular terminals and striatoentopeduncular terminals, rats were subjected to a double anterograde labelling study. The globus pallidus was injected with Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHA-L), and on the same side of the brain, the striatum was injected with biocytin. The entopeduncular nuclei of these animals were then examined for anterogradely labelled pallidal and striatal terminals. Rich plexuses of PHA-L-labelled pallidal terminals and biocytin-labelled striatal terminals were identified throughout the entopeduncular nucleus. At the electron microscopic level, the pallidal boutons were classified as two types. The majority (Type 1), were large boutons that formed symmetrical synapses with the dendrites and perikarya of neurones in the entopeduncular nucleus. Type 2 PHA-L-labelled terminals were much rarer, slightly smaller, and formed asymmetrical synapses. It is suggested that the Type 2 boutons are not derived from the globus pallidus but from the subthalamic nucleus. The biocytin-labelled terminals from the striatum had the typical morphological features of striatal terminals and formed symmetrical synapses. The distribution of the postsynaptic targets of the pallidal terminals and the striatal terminals differed in that the pallidal terminals preferentially made synaptic contact with the more proximal regions of the neurones in the entopeduncular nucleus, whereas the striatal terminals were located more distally on the dendritic trees. Examination in the electron microscope of areas where there was an overlap of the two sets of anterogradely labelled boutons revealed that terminals from the globus pallidus and the striatum made convergent synaptic contact with the perikarya and dendrites of individual neurones in the entopeduncular nucleus. In order to examine the chemical nature of the input to the entopeduncular nucleus from the globus pallidus and the striatum, ultrathin sections were immunostained by the postembedding method to reveal endogenous GABA. Three classes of GABA-containing terminals were identified; two of them formed symmetrical synapses and one rare type formed asymmetrical synapses. The combination of the GABA immunocytochemistry and anterograde labelling revealed that both the striatal and pallidal afferents that make symmetrical synapses with neurones in the entopeduncular nucleus, including those involved in convergent inputs, are GABAergic.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology
  • Globus Pallidus / chemistry*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Lysine / analysis
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Endings / chemistry
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / chemistry
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Phytohemagglutinins / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Substance P / analysis
  • Synapses / chemistry*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Embedding
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis*


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants
  • Substance P
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • biocytin
  • Lysine