The termination of callosal fibres in the auditory cortex of the rat. A combined Golgi--electron microscope and degeneration study

J Neurocytol. 1983 Oct;12(5):713-26. doi: 10.1007/BF01258146.


When the corpus callosum of the rat is sectioned, the callosal fibres in the cerebral cortex undergo degeneration. In the auditory cortex (area 41) the degenerating axon terminals form asymmetric synapses, and the vast majority of them synapse with dendritic spines. Some other synapse with the shafts of both spiny and smooth dendrites, and a few with the perikarya of non-pyramidal cells. The degenerating axon terminals are contained principally within layer II/III, in which they aggregate in patches. Using a technique in which neurons within the cortex are Golgi-impregnated, then gold-toned and examined in the electron microscope, it has been shown that the dendritic spines of pyramidal neurons with cell bodies in different layers receive the degenerating callosal afferents. The spines arise from the main apical dendritic shafts and their branches, from the dendrites of the apical tufts, and in some cases from the basal dendrites of the pyramidal neurons. The shafts of some pyramidal cell apical dendrites also form asymmetric synapses with callosal afferents. Since we have encountered no spiny non-pyramidal neurons in Golgi preparations of rat auditory cortex, and because other types of non-pyramidal cells have few dendritic spines, it is concluded that practically all of the dendritic spines synapsing with callosal afferents originate from pyramidal neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology*
  • Auditory Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Corpus Callosum / cytology*
  • Corpus Callosum / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Rats
  • Synapses / ultrastructure