An immunocytochemical study using anti-GAD serum was performed to examine the plastic changes of GABAergic inhibitory synapses in the red nucleus (RN) after lesions of the nucleus interpositus (IP) of the cat. Light-microscopic analyses revealed that 20-175 d after the unilateral lesion of the IP, somatic profiles of large neurons in the magnocellular RN contralateral to the lesion were more densely covered with GAD-immunoreactive puncta than those in the ipsilateral RN. Electron-microscopic analyses demonstrated that the GAD-immunoreactive puncta observed with the light microscope were synaptic terminals and that the number of GAD-immunoreactive synaptic terminals per unit length of somatic membrane of RN neurons was increased on the deafferented side. The GAD-immunoreactive terminals on somata of RN neurons made symmetric synaptic contacts with somatic membranes on both the deafferented and control sides. The number of immunoreactive synapses on somata of RN neurons was markedly increased on the deafferented side following IP lesion, whereas that of the unlabeled asymmetric synapses was decreased. These observations indicate that new GABAergic synapses were formed on somata of RN neurons after deafferentation from the IP.
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