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Exp Brain Res. 1990;79(1):3-17.

Intrastriatal implants of mesencephalic cell suspensions in weaver mutant mice: ultrastructural relationships of dopaminergic dendrites and axons issued from the graft.

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Department of Pathology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46223.


Dissociated cell suspensions were prepared from the ventral midbrain of normal mouse foetuses and stereotaxically implanted into the neostriatum of 2-3 months old homozygous weaver mutant mice, which are severely deficient in dopamine. In tests of amphetamine-induced turning behaviour 60 days after grafting, recipient animals displayed a rotational bias opposite to the grafted side. Prior to perfusion, which was carried out at 80 days after transplantation surgery, the grafted striata of the weaver recipients were deprived of their intrinsic mesostriatal dopamine input by local injections of 6-hydroxydopamine into the ipsilateral substantia nigra in order to selectively study the innervation derived from the graft. Grafts were found to contain an estimated 100-700 tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive neurones. An ultrastructural analysis demonstrated that both axons and dendrites immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase extended from the graft into the recipient striatum. In the host striatum proximal to the graft (i.e. at a distance of 0.0-0.5 mm from the graft) the proportion of dendrites to axons was about 1:2, whereas distal to the graft (i.e. at a distance of 0.5-1.0 mm) it was 1:20. Graft-derived tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive axons were primarily found in apposition with unlabelled dendrites or spines of the recipient striatum (greater than 90%). Graft-derived dopaminergic dendrites received synaptic input from unlabelled axon terminals and were opposed to the unlabelled somata of striatal neurones in a few instances. In conclusion, this study shows that mesencephalic cell suspensions survive in the weaver striatum and provide a functional dopamine innervation which comprises both axonal and dendritic processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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