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GABAergic nerve terminals decrease in the substantia nigra following hemitransections of the striatonigral and pallidonigral pathways.


Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), the enzyme that synthesizes the neurotransmitter, GABA, was immunocytochemically localized in axon terminals as well as in small and medium-sized neurons of the rat substantia nigra. The pattern formed by GAD-containing axon terminals with the dendrites and somata of neurons in the substantia nigra was altered following ipsilateral hemitransections of the striatonigral and pallidonigral pathways. A marked reduction of GAD-positive terminals occurred throughout this brain region, but the ventral fifth of the pars reticulata showed a nearly normal pattern of GAD-positive axon terminals. The results of this investigation are consistent with results from biochemical studies which have indicated that the striatonigral and/or pallidonigral pathways are GABAergic. In addition, these results suggest that the residual GABAergic terminals remaining after hemitransection are derived from intrinsic neurons of the substantia nigra.

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