Evidence for coexistence of GABA and dopamine in neurons of the rat olfactory bulb



Immunoreactivities for γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the dopaminesynthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) wore localized ultrastructurally and colocalized at the light microscopic level in neurons of the rat main olfactory bulb. By means of a simultaneous indirect immunofluorescence technique, GABA and TH immunoreactivities were found to coexist in a large number of neurons in the glomerular and external plexiform layers. Virtually all the TH-immunoreactive periglomerular neurons also contained GABA immunoreactivity (GABA-I) while there was an additional number of GABA-immunoreactive periglomerular cells (27%) which did not contain TH immunoreactivity (TH-I). In contrast, the numerous tufted-type neurons in the glomerular and superficial external plexiform layers which contained TH-I did not contain GABA-I. In the external plexiform layer (EPL), 41% of the immunoreactive neurons contained GABA-I alone, 24% contained TH-I alone, and 35% contained both. EPL neurons containing GABA-I only or both GABA-I and TH-I never exhibited tufted cell morphological characteristics and were generally of the short-axon type. Electron microscopic examination of GABA-I and TH-I elements in the glomerular layer detected morphologically similar periglomerular perikarya and intraglomerular processes immunoreactive for each substance and other neurons and processes of the same type containing neither GABA-I or TH-I. These data indicate that the classical neurotransmitters GABA and dopamine coexist in large numbers of neurons in the rat main olfactory bulb including characteristic periglomerular cells and certain other local-circuit neuronal types.