Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

    The caudate nucleus of the cat appears to be homogeneous when examined with the light or electron microscope, except for a layer beneath the ependyma where there is a high concentration of glial cells and few neurons. In sections of brains stained with thionin the nerve cells in the caudate nucleus fall into three size groups: less than 8 μm, 9 to 18 μm, greater than 20 μm. Examination of material impregnated with the Golgi technique shows that there are six cell types (one small, four medium and one large), and these are distinguishable on the basis of the size of the cell somata and the appearance and arrangement of their dendrites. One type of medium cell with many dendritic spines forms over 95 % of the cell population. The large and one medium cell type are tentatively identified as the source of the efferent fibres of the nucleus. These efferent fibres and the axons of the remaining medium cell types have collateral branches. Three groups of possible afferent fibres have been identified, and these and the collateral branches of the intrinsic neurons form a dense plexus whose individual fibres cross dendrites rather than lie parallel to them. Six cell types may also be distinguished with the electron microscope, and four of these can be correlated directly with those seen in Golgi impregnated material. Several kinds of dendrites are present, the commonest having numerous spines. Fewer spines are present on other varieties of dendrite, and those dendrites which are varicose have no spines. Numerous fine, nonmyelinated axons are present.


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