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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Apr 5;406(2):251-62.

Changes in axon arrangement in the retinofugal [correction of retinofungal] pathway of mouse embryos: confocal microscopy study using single- and double-dye label.

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Department of Anatomy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, People's Republic of China.


The changes in quadrant-specific fiber order in the retinofugal pathway of the C57-pigmented mouse aged embryonic day 15 were investigated by using single- (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanine perchlorate; DiI) and double- (N-4-4-didecylaminostyryl-N-methylpyridinium iodide; 4Di-10ASP in addition to DiI) labeling techniques. At this earliest stage of development, before any fibers arrive at their targets, retinal axons display a distinct quadrant-specific order at the optic stalk close to the eye. This order gradually disappears along the stalk and is virtually lost at the chiasm, as shown in single-label preparations. The double-label preparations, in which the population peaks of fibers from two retinal quadrants are shown simultaneously in an image, show a fiber arrangement at the chiasm that is different from the pattern seen in the single-label preparations. A distinct and consistent preferential distribution of fibers from different retinal quadrants is shown in the chiasm. Before the midline, the central part of the cross section of the chiasm is dominated by dorsal fibers, whereas the rostral and caudal parts of the chiasm are dominated by ventral nasal and ventral temporal fibers, respectively. Moreover, the double-label preparations demonstrate a major reshuffling of fiber position after the fibers cross the midline. Fibers from ventral retina are shifted gradually to a rostral position at the threshold of the optic tract, whereas fibers from dorsal retina are shifted caudally. These changes in fiber position indicate a postmidline location in the chiasm, where fibers are re-sorted in accordance with their origins in the dorsal ventral axis of the retina, and suggest a change in axon response to guidance signals when the fibers cross the midline of the chiasm. These changes in fiber order may also be related to the re-sorting of fibers according to their ages at the postmidline chiasm.

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