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

Role of target tissue in regulating the development of retinal ganglion cells in the albino rat: effects of kainate lesions in the superior colliculus.

Kainic acid or ibotenic acid was injected unilaterally into the major target regions of the axons of retinal ganglion cells--the superior colliculus (SC) or dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (DLG)--of rat pups ranging in age from postnatal day 0 to postnatal day 10 (P0 - P10). While the collicular or geniculate neurons within the injection site died within 48 hours of the injection, damage to axons and terminals of extrinsic origin within the injected region was not apparent. The neuronal degeneration induced by the neurotoxins, observed at both the light and electron microscopic levels, resembled the neuronal degeneration that occurs in the colliculus during normal development. Macrophages were identified in the regions containing degenerating cells. Two to three weeks after the injections of neurotoxin, massive injections of the enzyme, horseradish peroxidase (HRP), were made into the retinorecipient nuclei. After about 24-hour survival time the numbers of retinal ganglion cells were estimated by counting the number of neurons containing HRP reaction products in sample areas distributed in a regular rectangular array across the entire retinal surface. In the animals in which the neurotoxin was injected into the SC during the first 4 postnatal days, there was a substantial reduction (on average 41.5%; the range: 27.5-65.5%) in the normal number (mean value of 113,000--Potts et al.: Dev. Brain Res. 3:481-486, '82) of retinal ganglion cells surviving the period of "naturally occurring ganglion cell death" in the retinae contralateral to the injected SC. By contrast, injections of neurotoxins into the DLG and/or the optic tract of newborn rats did not result in a significant reduction in the numbers of retinal ganglion cells surviving the period of naturally occurring ganglion cell death. The period of sensitivity of retinal ganglion cells to the injection of neurotoxin into the colliculi extends from birth to about the end of the first postnatal week; the greatest sensitivity seems to be restricted to the first 3-4 postnatal days. In the retinae in which the total number (and density) of ganglion cells was substantially reduced by the selective destruction of their target cells, the centro-peripheral difference in the somal diameters of the ganglion cells (apparent in normal animals) was abolished, both amongst the whole population of ganglion cells and amongst the ganglion cells with the largest somata, relatively thick axons, and large-gauge primary dendrites (Class I cells). The number and distribution of the Class I cells in the depleted retinae were, however, unaltered.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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