Synaptic Organization in the Thalamus
Nissl (1889), in his initial abstract on the rabbit thalamus, remarked that the nerve cells of one thalamic nucleus often differed greatly in size from those in other nuclei but he made no comment about different classes of neurons within individual nuclei. By 1896, however, von Kölliker had identified three forms of Golgi-impregnated cells in the thalami of cats and rabbits (Fig. 4.1). One cell form, which he termed Buschzell, was found throughout the dorsal thalamus. It was of relatively large size with many short radiating dendrites, sometimes adopting a bitufted form, later recognized by many authors. A second large type or Strahlenull he observed only in the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus and in what may have been the reticular nucleus. It was more starlike with relatively few long dendrites, studded with protrusions. From Strahlenzellen, unlike from Buschzellen, he could trace axons, von Kölliker gives priority to Marchi for first describing these cells. The third cell type of von Kölliker was described in the thalami of newborn mice. It was small with dendrites of variable length, often beaded and covered in protrusions. Its axon could be traced for only a short distance but it was seen to give off collateral branches.
KeywordsReceptive Field Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Reticular Nucleus Relay Cell Relay Neuron
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