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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Dendritic growth and remodeling of cat retinal ganglion cells during fetal and postnatal development.

We have studied the development of retinal ganglion cell morphology in the cat's visual system from early fetal to postnatal times. In particular, we have examined the contribution of growth and remodeling to the establishment of mature retinal ganglion cell form. Ganglion cells were identified by retrograde labeling with rhodamine latex microspheres deposited in the superior colliculus and lateral geniculate nucleus between embryonic day 34 (E34; birth = E65) and adulthood. To reveal the fine morphological details of retrogradely labeled ganglion cells, 48 hr later Lucifer yellow was injected intracellularly in living retinae that had been dissected and maintained in vitro. Our results show that at E35-37 the majority of ganglion cells are very simple in morphology, with a few dendritic processes that are generally aligned in a radial direction towards or away from the optic disc. During the ensuing 2 week period, there is a progressive growth and elaboration of dendrites. By E50, some ganglion cells resembling the adult alpha, beta, and gamma classes can be identified based on comparisons of the appearance and dimensions of their dendritic trees and somata with neighboring filled cells. However, ganglion cell dendrites and axons at this age express several transient morphological features. The axons of ganglion cells give rise to delicate processes originating from the intraretinal portion of the axon, including side branches, present in about half of the cells, and occasionally bifurcations that give rise to axon collaterals. These transient axonal features are present throughout development, including the neonatal period; no axon collaterals were observed after postnatal day 15, while axonal side branches persisted even at P31 but were gone by adulthood. Ganglion cell dendrites exhibit excessive branches and exuberant somatic and dendritic spines. Quantitative analysis of these processes shows that after E45 dendritic trees increase dramatically in complexity, reaching the peak number of spines and branch points by the first week of postnatal life. The number of dendritic processes then falls abruptly to reach near-adult levels by the end of the first postnatal month. Even though dendritic morphology closely resembles that seen in the adult at this age, ganglion cell bodies and dendrites must continue to grow to reach their adult size.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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