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Neuroscience

Differential synaptic inputs to the cell body and proximal dendrites of preganglionic parasympathetic neurons in the rat conus medullaris.


PMID 18848606

Abstract

Preganglionic parasympathetic neurons (PPNs) reside in the intermediolateral (IML) nucleus of the rat lumbosacral spinal cord and contribute to the autonomic control of visceral pelvic organs. PPNs provide the final common pathway for efferent parasympathetic information originating in the spinal cord. We examined the detailed ultrastructure of the type and organization of synaptic inputs to the cell body and proximal dendrites of PPNs in the rat conus medullaris. The PPNs were retrogradely labeled by a systemic administration of the B subunit of cholera toxin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase. We demonstrate four distinct types of synaptic boutons in apposition with PPN somata and proximal dendrites: S-type boutons show clear, spheroid vesicles; F-type boutons show flattened vesicles; dense-cored vesicle-type (DCV-type) boutons show a mixture of clear and dense-cored vesicles; L-type boutons were rare, but large, exhibited clear spheroid vesicles, and were only encountered in apposition with the PPN dendrites in our sample. The membrane surface covered by apposed boutons was markedly higher for the proximal dendrites of PPNs, compared with their somata. The inhibitory synaptic influence was markedly higher over the PPN somata compared with their proximal dendrites, as suggested by the higher proportion of putative inhibitory F-type boutons in apposition with the soma and a higher frequency of S-type boutons per membrane length for the proximal dendrites. Our studies suggest that the synaptic input to PPNs originates from multiple distinct sources and is differentially distributed and integrated over the cell membrane surface.

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