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Exp Neurol. 2003 Apr;180(2):110-22.

Axonal regrowth of layer II-III visual-projecting cortical neurons in rats fails beyond eye opening.

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Neurophysiology Group, LBSC, UMR 6558, CNRS, Faculty of Sciences, 40 avenue du Recteur Pineau, F-86022 Poitiers, France.


Fetal neurons (embryonic age E16) of occipital origin grafted in the visual cortex of albino rats at increasing postnatal stages (P0, P7, P15, P30, P60, P120) can be activated by photic stimulation. Inputs originate from five major areas of the brain ipsilateral to the graft, namely, the claustrum, the periallocortex/proisocortex, the isocortex, the visual thalamus, and some unspecific subthalamic and hypothalamic nuclei. All inputs decrease in number with the age at which grafting was performed. Isocortical afferents exhibit furthermore a progressive laminar shaping. In neonates, layer II-III and layer V-VI neurons contribute equally to the graft input. In adults, grafts receive prominent input (approximately 70-80%) from layer VI neurons whereas layer II-III neurons account for less than 10%. Proportions of layer IV (approximately 2-4%) and layer V (approximately 15-20%) neurons innervating the graft remain stable, irrespective of the age of the recipient. The adult pattern of connectivity between the host brain and the graft establishes in frontal and temporal areas 1 week earlier than in occipital areas. It is nearly completed in postnatal day 15 (P15) grafted recipients. Supragranular neurons would be thus unable to innervate and to make stable synapses at the graft level beyond P15, i.e., when eyes open. Some infragranular neurons (supposedly remnants of the earliest generated cortical cell population) still have this capacity in adults.

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