Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Brain Struct Funct, Volume 221, Issue 2, p.1139-55 (2016)
The internal (GPi) and external (GPe) segments of the primate globus pallidus receive a significant cholinergic (ACh) innervation from the brainstem pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus. The present immunohistochemical study describes this innervation in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), as visualized with an antibody raised against choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). At the light microscopic level, unbiased stereological quantification of ChAT positive (+) axon varicosities reveals a significantly lower density of innervation in GPi (0.26 ± 0.03 × 10(6)) than in GPe (0.47 ± 0.07 × 10(6) varicosities/mm(3) of tissue), with the anterior half of both segments more densely innervated than the posterior half. Neuronal density of GPi (3.00 ± 0.13 × 10(3) neurons/mm(3)) and GPe (3.62 ± 0.22 × 10(3) neurons/mm(3)) yields a mean ratio of ChAT+ axon varicosities per pallidal neuron of 74 ± 10 in the GPi and 128 ± 28 in the GPe. At the electron microscopic level, the pallidal ChAT+ axon varicosities are significantly smaller than their unlabeled counterparts, but are comparable in size and shape in the two pallidal segments. Only a minority of ChAT+ varicosities displays a synaptic specialization (12 % in the GPi and 17 % in the GPe); these scarce synaptic contacts are mostly of the symmetrical type and occur exclusively on pallidal dendrites. No ChAT+ axo-axonic synaptic contacts are observed, suggesting that ACh exerts its modulatory action on pallidal afferents through diffuse transmission, whereas pallidal neurons may be influenced by both volumic and synaptic delivery of ACh.