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Eur J Histochem. 2011 Oct 19;55(4):e33. doi: 10.4081/ejh.2011.e33.

Delayed maturation and altered proliferation within the rat rostral migratory stream following maternal deprivation.

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  • 1Institute of Neurobiology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovak Republic.


The objective of this study was to investigate whether stressful experience during early postnatal period may influence morphological characteristics of the rat neurogenic pathway--the rostral migratory stream (RMS) and proliferation of neuronal precursors in three successive areas of the RMS: in the vertical arm, the elbow and the horizontal arm. To induce stress, the pups were subjected to repeated maternal deprivation during the first postnatal week after birth. Brains were analyzed at the seventh postnatal day. The controls matched the age of maternally deprived animals. Observation of hematoxylin-eosin stained sections showed that maternal deprivation did not affect the general morphological appearance of the RMS. The shape of the RMS of maternally deprived rats resembles the RMS of control animals. Maternal deprivation caused slight, not significant increase in the RMS thickness in comparison with control rats. Significant difference between the control and maternally deprived rats concerns the olfactory ventricle. While in seven days old control rats the olfactory ventricle is completely closed, in maternally deprived rats of the same age the olfactory ventricle was regularly visible as a narrow lumen at the axis of the RMS horizontal arm. This finding indicates delayed maturation of the migratory pathway as a consequence of stress. Proliferation activity has been assessed by immunoreactivity of the endogenous cell cycle protein Ki-67. The results of Ki-67 immunohistochemistry showed that seven days' maternal separation for 3 h daily induces significant quantitative changes in the number of proliferating cells within the RMS. The response of Ki-67-positive cells to stress differed in individual part of the RMS, with a marked decrease in the vertical arm and a significant increase in the elbow, suggesting heterogeneity of neural stem cells along the RMS; while in the RMS vertical arm the number of dividing cells significantly decreased, there was a marked increase of Ki-67-positive cells in the RMS elbow. This suggests heterogeneity of neural stem cells along the RMS.

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