The dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of Tupaia glis: a Golgi, Nissl and acetylcholinesterase study

J Hirnforsch. 1981;22(1):59-74.


Morphology of neurons and afferent axons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the tree shrew (Tupaia glis) was studied using Golgi-Kopsch impregnated and Nissl stained material. Staining of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) could inform about the distribution of this enzyme in the tree shrew's dLGN. The results can be summarized as follows: 1. Two classes of neurons can be identified: class-I-neurons and class-II-neurons. Class-I-neurons correspond to geniculo-cortical relay neurons (GCR-neurons) and class-II-neurons correspond to local interneurons (I-neurons). 2. Class-I-neurons differ in their morphology depending on their laminar position. Tufted neurons with clusters of grape-like appendages in their branching zones resembling X-cells in the cat's dLGN are localized in the external laminae 5 and 4. In the superficial lamina 6 the dendrite domains of GCR-neurons are flattened and elongated. Dendrites seem not to penetrate laminar borders. The cells in layer 3 have the smallest soma and radiate dendrites. There is some evidence that GCR-neurons in this lamina represent W-cells (Carey et al., 1979). GCR-neurons in laminae 2 and 1 (innermost laminae) have the biggest somata. Their dendritic branching patterns make it difficult to classify the cells into tufted or radiate. Branching zones are rather smooth. These cells seem to be good candidates for Y-cells. 3. I-neurons could be identified in all laminae. Their dendrites preferentially take a dorso-ventral course. Only axon initial segments of these neurons were visible in Golgi preparations. 4. GCR-neurons and I-neurons could also be identified in Nissl preparations. The ratio GCR-neurons: I-neurons is about 10:1, i.e. 10% of all neurons are I-neurons. 5. In Golgi preparations some types of axons were impregnated. Type-1-axons resemble cortical afferents of other mammalian species. Type-2-axons (2a, 2b, 2c) do not leave single laminae in our material. Considering branching characteristics of their terminal zones, this finding could be a reference for their retinal origin. 6. Laminae 5, 4, 2, and 1 have a remarkable higher content of AChe than the laminae 6 and 3. The low level of ACHE in lamina 3 of the tree shrew's dLGN corresponds to the less activity of ACHE in the laminae 4 and 5 of Galago senegalensis (Fitzpatrick and Diamond, 1979), which like lamina 3 in Tupaia's dLGN project to layer I of the visual cortex (Carey et al., 1979).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Nissl Bodies / ultrastructure
  • Optic Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Tupaia
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology


  • Acetylcholinesterase