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Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 shows different patterns of localization within the parallel visual pathways in macaque and squirrel monkeys

Authors Shostak Y, Wenger A, Mavity-Hudson J, Casagrande V

Received 5 December 2013

Accepted for publication 11 January 2014

Published 24 September 2014 Volume 2014:6(Thematic series: Organization and function of the visual system in primates) Pages 29—43


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Yuri Shostak,1,5 Ashley Wenger,4 Julia Mavity-Hudson,1 Vivien A Casagrande1–3

1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, 2Department of Psychology, 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, 4Undergraduate Neuroscience Program, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA; 5Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise, Minsk, Belarus

Abstract: Glutamate is used as an excitatory neurotransmitter by the koniocellular (K), magnocellular (M), and parvocellular (P) pathways to transfer signals from the primate lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) to primary visual cortex (V1). Glutamate acts through both fast ionotropic receptors, which appear to carry the main sensory message, and slower, modulatory metabotropic receptors (mGluRs). In this study, we asked whether mGluR5 relates in distinct ways to the K, M, and P LGN axons in V1. To answer this question, we used light microscopic immunocytochemistry and preembedding electron microscopic immunogold labeling to determine the localization of mGluR5 within the layers of V1 in relation to the K, M, and P pathways in macaque and squirrel monkeys. These pathways were labeled separately via wheat germ agglutinin–horseradish peroxidase (WGA–HRP) injections targeting the LGN layers. mGluR5 is of interest because it: 1) has been shown to be expressed in the thalamic input layers; 2) appears to be responsible for some types of oscillatory firing, which could be important in the binding of visual features; and 3) has been associated with a number of sensory-motor gating-related pathologies, including schizophrenia and autism. Our results demonstrated the presence of mGluR5 in the neuropil of all V1 layers. This protein was lowest in IVCa (M input) and the infragranular layers. In layer IVC, mGluR5 also was found postsynaptic to about 30% of labeled axons, but the distribution was uneven, such that postsynaptic mGluR5 label tended to occur opposite smaller (presumed P), and not larger (presumed M) axon terminals. Only in the K pathway in layer IIIB, however, was mGluR5 always found in the axon terminals themselves. The presence of mGluR5 in K axons and not in M and P axons, and the presence of mGluR5 postsynaptic mainly to smaller P and not larger M axons suggest that the response to the release of glutamate is modulated in distinct ways within and between the parallel visual pathways of primates.

Keywords: electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, koniocellular, magnocellular, parvocellular, visual cortex

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