Synaptic connections between identified neuron types in the antennal lobe glomeruli of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana: I. Uniglomerular projection neurons

J Comp Neurol. 1997 Feb 17;378(3):307-19.


A combination of three different labels was used to demonstrate synapses between three types of neurons within the glomeruli: 1) antennal receptor cells, 2) gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-immunoreactive neurons, and 3) uniglomerular projection neurons. Receptor cell axons were experimentally severed and caused to degenerate; uniglomerular projection neurons, a subgroup of glomerular output neurons, were labeled by intracellular horseradish peroxidase (HRP) injection and GABA-containing neurons by postembedding immunogold staining. The following synaptic connections were identified: 1) Receptor cell axons form monosynaptic contacts in a dyadic fashion onto a dendritic process of a uniglomerular projection neuron and in addition onto a GABA-immunoreactive neuron. 2) Receptor cell axons form polysynaptic connections with dendrites of uniglomerular projection neurons via GABA-immunoreactive neurons. 3) GABA-immunoreactive neurons form dyadic output synapses onto receptor cell axons and in addition onto projection neuron dendrites. These findings provide further evidence that signal transfer from receptor cells onto uniglomerular projection neurons is mediated by two different paths: first, a monosynaptic and presumably excitatory route and, second, an inhibitory polysynaptic route via GABAergic, most likely multiglomerular interneurons. The output synapses of GABA-immunoreactive neurons onto both receptor cells and uniglomerular projection neurons are assumed to exert control functions in regulating the neuronal activity within the glomeruli.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / ultrastructure
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Periplaneta / physiology*
  • Sense Organs / physiology*
  • Sense Organs / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Tissue Embedding
  • Tissue Fixation
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Horseradish Peroxidase