Neuronal and synaptic organization of the lateral geniculate nucleus of the tree shrew, Tupaia glis

Cell Tissue Res. 1982;224(1):207-23. doi: 10.1007/BF00217280.


The ultrastructural study of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the tree shrew (Tupaia glis) revealed two types of neurons: (1) a large thalamocortical relay cell (TCR), which may bear cilia, and (2) a small Golgi type-II interneuron (IN) with an invaginated nucleus. The narrow rim of pale cytoplasm of the IN contains fewer lysosomes and fewer Nissl bodies than the cytoplasm of the TCR. The IN perikarya, which in some cases establish somatosomatic contacts, frequently contain flattened or pleomorphic synaptic vesicles. The ratio of TCR to IN is 3:1. Three types of axon terminals were observed in the LGN. Two of them contain round synaptic vesicles but differ in size. The large RL boutons undergo dark degeneration after enucleation; they are the terminals of retino-geniculate fibers. The smaller RS boutons show dark degeneration after ablation of the visual cortex; they are the terminals of the cortico-geniculate fibers. The third type of bouton (F1) does not degenerate after either intervention. The boutons of this type are filled with flattened vesicles and are believed to be intrageniculate terminals. F2-profiles were interpreted as presynaptic dendrites of the IN. The characteristic synaptic glomeruli found in the LGN contain in their center an optic terminal. These optic terminals establish synaptic contacts with dendrites or spine-like dendritic protrusions of TCRs as well as with presynaptic dendrites. Synaptic triads were also seen. The distribution of the individual types of synaptic contacts in layers 3 and 4 were determined. Layer 4 contains only one third of the retino-geniculate synapses and of the synaptic contacts of F1-terminals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Geniculate Bodies / ultrastructure*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Organoids / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Tupaia / anatomy & histology*
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*