Indexed on: 16 Jan '95Published on: 16 Jan '95Published in: Journal of Comparative Neurology
The ultrastructure and synaptic organization of the nucleus medialis and cerebellar crest of the teleost Chelon labrosus have been investigated. The nucleus medialis receives projections from the anterior and posterior lateral line nerves. This nucleus consists of oval neurons and large crest cells ("Purkinje-like" cells) whose apical dendrites branch in the overlying molecular layer, the cerebellar crest. In the dorsal region of the nucleus medialis, the perikarya and smooth primary dendrites of the crest cells are interspersed among myelinated fibers and nerve boutons. The ventral layer of the nucleus medialis contains crest cell perikarya and dendrites as well as oval neurons. The cerebellar crest lacks neuronal bodies, but the apical dendrites of crest cells receive synapses from unmyelinated and myelinated fibers. In the cerebellar crest, two types of terminals are presynaptic to the crest cell dendrites: boutons with spherical vesicles that form asymmetric synapses with dendritic spines and boutons containing pleomorphic vesicles that form symmetric synapses directly on the dendritic shaft. Most axon terminals found on the somata and primary dendrites of crest cells in the nucleus medialis have pleomorphic vesicles and form symmetric contacts, though asymmetric synapses with spherical vesicles and mixed synapses can be observed; these mixed synapses exhibit gap junctions and contain spherical vesicles. Unlike crest cells, the oval neuron perikarya receive three types of contacts (symmetric, asymmetric, and mixed). The origins and functions of these different bouton types in the nucleus medialis are discussed.