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Mediodorsal Thalamic Afferents to Layer III of the Rat Prefrontal Cortex:Synaptic Relationships to Subclasses of Interneurons

Rotaru, Diana Codruta (2004) Mediodorsal Thalamic Afferents to Layer III of the Rat Prefrontal Cortex:Synaptic Relationships to Subclasses of Interneurons. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (MD) represents the main subcortical structure that projects to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and regulates key aspects of the cognitive functions of this region. Within the PFC, GABA local circuit neurons shape the activity patterns and hence the "memory fields" of pyramidal cells. Although the connections between the MD and PFC are well established, little attention has been given to the functional connections between projecting fibers from the MD and different subclasses of GABA cells in the PFC. In order to address this issue in the rat, we examined MD axons labeled by tract-tracing in combination with immunogold-silver to identify different calcium binding proteins localized within separate populations of interneurons. Electron micrographic examination of PFC sections from these animals revealed that MD terminals made primarily asymmetric synapses onto dendritic spines and less commonly onto dendritic shafts. Most of the dendrites receiving MD synaptic input were immunoreactive for parvalbumin (ParV), whereas dendrites labeled for calretinin or calbindin received synapses from MD fibers less frequently. We also observed that some MD terminals were themselves immunoreactive for calcium binding proteins, again more commonly for ParV. These results suggest that the MD exerts a dual influence on PFC pyramidal cells: direct inputs onto spines and an indirect influence mediated via synapses onto each subclass of interneurons. The preferential input to ParV cells endows MD afferents with a strong indirect influence on pyramidal cell activity by virtue of ParV cell synapses onto soma, proximal dendrites and axon initial segments.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rotaru, Diana Codrutadir2@pitt.eduDIR2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBarrionuevo, Germangerman@bns.pitt.eduGERMAN
Committee MemberCard, Patcard@bns.pitt.eduCARD
Committee MemberSesack, Susansesack@bns.pitt.eduSESACK
Date: 5 October 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 July 2004
Approval Date: 5 October 2004
Submission Date: 17 August 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: senzorial cortex; somato sensitive system
Other ID:, etd-08172004-235130
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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