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J Comp Neurol. 1976 Mar 15;166(2):245-55.

Neurogenesis in the visual system of the rat. An autoradiographic investigation.


Rats of the BD III strain were injected with a single dose of 3H-thymidine on either the twelfth, fourteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth or twentieth day of gestation (ED 12. . . . .ED 20) or on the postnatal day one, three, or seven. Animals were killed at age 22 to 24 days. DNA synthesis, as an indicator of cell division, was studied in matrix precursors of nerve and glial cells in the visula centers, including the lateral geniculate body (LGB), the superior colliculus (SC) and the visual cortex (VC). It was found that proliferation of matrix precursors of nerve cells destined for all the regions studied was in progress on ED 12. In the subcortical regions (LGB, SC) this process was substantially more advanced than in the VC. The first neuroblasts appeared in the SC (ED 12) and only later (ED 14) in the LGB and VC. In comparison with the LGB, VC neuroblasts were quite rare on ED 14 and were present only in layer VI. They appeared more frequently in this region only after injection of isotope on ED 16. Matrix cell proliferation and nerve cell formation ceased in the LGB between ED 16 and ED 18. The number of labeled cells arising after injection of the isotope on ED 16 indicates that neurogenesis ceased somewhat earlier in the dorsal nucleus of the LGB than in the ventral. In the SC the last neurons arose between ED 18 and ED 20, and in the VC, with the possible exception of a few granular neurons (which may continue division into the first few days postnatally), proliferation continued until the end of gestation. The origin of neuroblasts initially followed a caudo-rostral gradient. Later, the times of neurogenesis in the regions studied overlapped significantly. This is clear, for example. on ED 16, when neurogenesis in the mesencephalic SC continued for about two days longer than in the more postral LGB, and coincided with that in the VC, especially in the deep layers. The end of neurogenesis in the LGB, especially in the ventral nucleus, coincided with the time of neurogenesis in the deep cortical layers. In the VC, and partly also in the SC, an inside-out pattern of proliferation and neuron formation was confirmed. The times of proliferation of precursor cells, with the exception of the very end of neurogenesis, substantially overlapped within both these regions. The degree of this overlapping, described in terms of Labeling Index values, decreased towards the end of the neurogenetic period. Division of neuroglial cell precursors, started as early as on ED 14 in/for subcortical centers (LGB, SC), but not until ED 18 in/for the VC. A few labeled endothelial-like cells were observed in all regions studied after isotope injection on ED 12.

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