Synaptic organization of the nucleus raphe dorsalis of the cat

Research paper by G. Chazal, P. T. Ohara

Indexed on: 01 Oct '87Published on: 01 Oct '87Published in: Journal of neurocytology


This electron microscopic study describes the different types of synaptic terminals found in the nucleus raphe dorsalis of the adult cat. Serial section analysis was used extensively to confirm the nature of the synaptic contact established by the various classes of terminals.Five different classes of terminals are identified according to the shape and packing density of the synaptic vesicles and type of contact they establish. The most common class (RDI-type) contains densely packed, round, agranular synaptic vesicles and establishes asymmetrical synaptic contacts. A second class (RDII-type) also contains spherical synaptic vesicles, but establishes symmetrical synaptic contacts with dendrites of all sizes. Most of the terminals in these two classes contain a few dense-cored synaptic vesicles, but a small sub-group contains many dense-cored vesicles. A third, less frequent, class (RSI-type) contains sparsely packed spherical synaptic vesicles and the majority of these terminals have asymmetrical contacts. A fourth terminal class contains pleomorphic synaptic vesicles (P-type), contacts dendrites of all sizes, and usually establishes symmetrical synaptic contacts. Finally, boutons thought to be the vesicle-filled excrescences of dendrites (postsynaptic dendrites) are found and in some cases the dendritic origin of these profiles was confirmed by serial sectioning. Such boutons containing pleomorphic vesicles are presynaptic to other such dendrites as well as conventional dendrites, and are postsynapticto the other terminal types described.Somata within the nucleus exhibit somatic spines but receive few synaptic contacts. Most axo-somatic terminals contain either round or pleomorphic vesicles and have postsynaptic thickenings intermediate to the symmetric and asymmetric types.