• neuropeptide Y;
  • GABA;
  • dorsal striatum;
  • rat;
  • electron microscopy;
  • immunocytochemistry;
  • dual labelling


Dual labelling methods were applied to localize simultaneously neuropeptide Y (NPY) and glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) immunoreactivities on ultrathin sections of the rat caudate-putamen (CP). By means of a double peroxidase-anti-peroxidase technique, using 3,3′-diaminobenzidine and benzidine dihydrochloride as chromogens in animals with no colchicine pretreatment, GAD immunoreactivity was found to be present in terminals only whereas NPY immunoreactivity was detected in neurons displaying the features of aspiny type cells and processes. With this approach, we observed numerous synaptic associations of the symmetrical type between GAD-immunoreactive (-Ir) axonal boutons and NPY-Ir cell bodies and dendrites. By combining immunoperoxidase and radioimmunocytochemical labelling in animals pretreated with colchicine, NPY was again detected in a single population of aspiny type neurons whereas GAD immunoreactivity was observed in neurons which could be classified as aspiny and spiny on the basis of their ultrastructural characteristics. All the cells of the aspiny type displaying clear-cut NPY immunoreactivity were also found to be GAD-positive. Some other neurons of both the aspiny and the spiny type were found to be immunoreactive to GAD alone. GAD/NPY dually labelled terminals were also observed and some axo-axonic appositions between GAD- and NPY-Ir terminals were also detected. All in all, these data show that NPY aspiny type neurons of the rat CP receive GABAergic afferents and provide morphological support for two hypotheses: that NPY is co-localized with GABA in some cell bodies, dendrites and axons, and that presynaptic interactions may occur between NPY and GABAergic neuronal systems.