Light and Electron Microscopic Study of Galanin-Immunoreactive Nerve Fibers in the Rat Posterior Thalamus

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Light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry was used to study certain cell groups in the posteromedial thalamus which contain galanin-immunoreactive (GAL-IR) fibers. The nuclei subparafascicularis pars parvicellularis (SPFpc) and parafascicularis (PF) contain a dense network of GAL-IR fibers which form basketlike structures around unstained cells. The periventricular area also contains numerous GAL-IR fibers and these also occasionally form basketlike structures. The GAL-IR terminal fields continue caudally in the mesodiencephalic junction and merge with other GAL-IR fibers in the dorsal aspects of the substantia nigra and around the dorsolateral tip of the medial lemniscus.

Ultrastructural analysis of the GAL-IR basketlike structures revealed that GAL-IR terminals make numerous synapses with the cell bodies and proximal dendrites of SPFpc neurones. These results suggest that the activity of cells in the SPFpc and PF nuclei may be strongly influenced by galanin-containing nerve fibers probably originating in the spinal cord.



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