Author(s): Ling C, Hendrickson ML, Kalil RE. Morphology, classification, and distribution of the projection neurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the rat. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49161. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049161. Epub 2012 Nov 5. PMID 23139837
Journal: Plo S One, Volume 7, Issue 11, 2012
The morphology of confirmed projection neurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of the rat was examined by filling these cells retrogradely with biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) injected into the visual cortex. BDA-labeled projection neurons varied widely in the shape and size of their cell somas, with mean cross-sectional areas ranging from 60-340 µm(2). Labeled projection neurons supported 7-55 dendrites that spanned up to 300 µm in length and formed dendritic arbors with cross-sectional areas of up to 7.0 × 10(4) µm(2). Primary dendrites emerged from cell somas in three broad patterns. In some dLGN projection neurons, primary dendrites arise from the cell soma at two poles spaced approximately 180° apart. In other projection neurons, dendrites emerge principally from one side of the cell soma, while in a third group of projection neurons primary dendrites emerge from the entire perimeter of the cell soma. Based on these three distinct patterns in the distribution of primary dendrites from cell somas, we have grouped dLGN projection neurons into three classes: bipolar cells, basket cells and radial cells, respectively. The appendages seen on dendrites also can be grouped into three classes according to differences in their structure. Short “tufted” appendages arise mainly from the distal branches of dendrites; “spine-like” appendages, fine stalks with ovoid heads, typically are seen along the middle segments of dendrites; and “grape-like” appendages, short stalks that terminate in a cluster of ovoid bulbs, appear most often along the proximal segments of secondary dendrites of neurons with medium or large cell somas. While morphologically diverse dLGN projection neurons are intermingled uniformly throughout the nucleus, the caudal pole of the dLGN contains more small projection neurons of all classes than the rostral pole.