Electron microscopic analysis of gamma-aminobutyric acid and glycine colocalization in rat trigeminal subnucleus caudalis

Brain Res. 1998 Sep 21;806(1):16-25. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(98)00688-x.


Postembedding immunogold methods were used to examine the distribution of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine and especially their colocalization in glomerular neuronal profiles adjacent to trigeminal primary afferent profiles in lamina II of rat subnucleus caudalis. We found that 60% of the profiles adjacent to the trigeminal primary afferent terminals exhibited colocalization of GABA and glycine. GABA alone was found to localize in 17% of the adjacent profiles. Glycine alone was found to localize in 18% of the adjacent profiles. Of interest, 10% of the trigeminal primary afferent fibers showed glycine localization. All the profiles with colocalization of GABA and glycine were identified as presynaptic axonal terminals, suggesting a possible cumulative effect by these two inhibitory neurotransmitters in presynaptic inhibition. These findings show that GABA and glycine colocalize in a subpopulation of presynaptic axonal terminals within lamina II of the subnucleus caudalis. The possible origins of these axons are discussed, as well as their potential involvement in presynaptic inhibition of orofacial nociception.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Endings / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Trigeminal Caudal Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Trigeminal Caudal Nucleus / ultrastructure*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glycine