Colocalization of vesicular glutamate transporters in the rat superior olivary complex

Neurosci Lett. 2005 Jul 1-8;382(1-2):66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.02.071. Epub 2005 Mar 29.


Vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs) are responsible for the accumulation of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate into synaptic vesicles. It is currently controversial whether the two isoforms found in glutamatergic neurons, VGLUT1 and VGLUT2, are present at the same synapse or have entirely complementary patterns of distribution. Using fluorescent immunohistochemistry, this study examines the colocalization of these two transporters in the rat superior olivary complex (SOC) between postnatal day (P) 5 and 29. The medial and lateral superior olives (MSO; LSO) stain for both VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 at all ages studied, with VGLUT1 levels doubling over this developmental period and VGLUT2 levels remaining unchanged. The ventral nucleus of the trapezoid body (VNTB) strongly labels only for VGLUT2, despite the fact that glutamatergic synapses are present that are formed from collaterals of axons that go on to form synapses containing both VGLUT1 and VGLUT2. Principal neurons of the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) are surrounded by the calyx of Held presynaptic terminal, which is large enough to allow examination of VGLUT localization within a synapse. Throughout its postnatal developmental period a single calyx synapse contains both VGLUT1 and VGLUT2. Whereas VGLUT1 levels are greatly up-regulated from P5 to P29, VGLUT2 levels remain high. As the abundance of VGLUT determines the quantal size, this up-regulation will increase excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) and have influences on synaptic physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Olivary Nucleus / growth & development
  • Olivary Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Slc17a6 protein, rat
  • Slc17a7 protein, rat
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 1
  • Vesicular Glutamate Transport Protein 2