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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1987;176(2):191-202.

Development of the basilar pons in the North American opossum: dendrogenesis and maturation of afferent and efferent connections.

Abstract

The present study provides data on temporal factors that may play a role in the development of precerebellar-cerebellar circuits in the North American opossum. In this study the basilar pons and cerebellum are analyzed from birth, 12-13 days after conception, to approximately postnatal day (PD) 80 at which time the brainstem and cerebellum have a mature histological appearance. In Nissl preparations, the basilar pons was first seen at PD 7 as a small cluster of tightly packed cells. Analysis of Golgi impregnations revealed that dendritic growth occurred between PD 25-80. During this period, dendrites gradually increased in length and in the complexity of their branching pattern. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was placed into the cerebellar and cerebral cortices in order to examine the development of efferent and afferent projections of the basilar pons, respectively. Evidence for the growth of pontine axons into the cerebellum was first detected on PD 17. Neurons located dorsally within the basilar pons appear to be the first neurons retrogradely labeled with horseradish peroxidase. By PD 27 retrogradely labeled neurons are found throughout the basilar pons. Afferent fibers from the cerebral cortex are not seen within the neuropil of the nucleus until after PD 25 and by PD 29, they have greatly expanded their terminal fields. Degeneration techniques reveal that afferent fibers from the cerebellum arrive by PD 19 and increase in number until PD 30 when their adult distribution is achieved. These data suggest that the time of afferent arrival from the cerebral cortex and deep cerebellar nuclei is closely correlated in time with the initiation of dendritic maturation and the outgrowth of pontocerebellar axons. Afferent axons from the cerebral cortex and deep cerebellar nuclei reach the basilar pons and afferents from the basilar pons grow into the cerebellum when the dendrites of the respective target neurons are very immature. Thus, the time of axon arrival in these circuits may be an important factor in determining their synaptic location on individual neurons. The data derived from the present study is compared to those obtained in previous studies on the inferior olive. The results of this comparison provide evidence for a similar sequence of events, but a differential timetable for the development of specific connections within precerebellar-cerebellar circuits.

PMID:
2441628
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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