Stereological estimations and neurochemical characterization of neurons expressing GABAA and GABAB receptors in the rat pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei
To better understand GABAergic transmission at two targets of basal ganglia downstream projections, the pedunculopontine (PPN) and laterodorsal (LDT) tegmental nuclei, the anatomical localization of GABAA and GABAB receptors was investigated in both nuclei. Specifically, the total number of neurons expressing the GABAA receptor gamma 2 subunit (GABAAR gamma 2) and the GABAB receptor R2 subunit (GABAB R2) in PPN and LDT was estimated using stereological methods, and the neurochemical phenotype of cells expressing each subunit was also determined. The mean number of non-cholinergic cells expressing GABAAR gamma 2 was 9850 +/- 1856 in the PPN and 8285 +/- 962 in the LDT, whereas those expressing GABAB R2 were 7310 +/- 1970 and 9170 +/- 1900 in the PPN and LDT, respectively. In addition, all cholinergic neurons in both nuclei co-expressed GABAAR gamma 2 and 95-98% of them co-expressed GABAB R2. Triple labeling using in situ hybridization revealed that 77% of GAD67 mRNA-positive cells in the PPT and 49% in the LDT expressed GABAAR gamma 2, while 90% (PPN) and 65% (LDT) of Vglut2 mRNA-positive cells also expressed GABAAR gamma 2. In contrast, a similar proportion (similar to 2/3) of glutamatergic and GABAergic cells co-expressed GABAB R2 in both nuclei. The heterogeneous distribution of GABAAR and GABABR among non-cholinergic cells in PPN and LDT may give rise to physiological differences within each neurochemical subpopulation. In addition, the dissimilar proportion of GABAAR gamma 2-expressing glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the PPN and LDT may contribute to some of the functional differences found between the two nuclei.