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J Comp Neurol. 1988 Aug 15;274(3):449-63.

Fetal homotypic transplant in the excitotoxically neuron-depleted thalamus: light microscopy.

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Unité de Recherches de Neurophysiologie Pharmacologique, U 161 INSERM, Paris, France.


One month after an in situ injection of kainic acid into the ventrobasal thalamic complex (VB), the lesioned area is totally depleted of neurons. The present study has been undertaken to determine the cytoarchitecture and connectivity of the nucleus constructed by fetal thalamic neurons implanted into the excitotoxically lesioned area. Adult rats received an injection of kainic acid inducing a total neuronal depletion of the right lateral thalamus (including both the nucleus reticularis thalami and the lateral portion of the ventrobasal complex). One month later, homotypic neurons were taken from the dorsal thalamic primordium of rat embryos (gestational age 15-16 days), dissociated, and injected into the lesioned area as a cell suspension. After 2-4-month survival, the cytoarchitecture of the neonucleus formed by the grafted neurons within the previously neuron-depleted area was analyzed. Additionally, connectivity was analyzed in seven rats in which dorsal column nuclei and/or cortical projections to the area were labeled anterogradely with either 3H-leucine or wheat-germ agglutinin conjugated to HRP, and the animals were perfused and processed following various histological procedures (Nissl staining, autoradiographic processing, and histochemistry for visualization of peroxidase). Fetal neurons grew, differentiated, and progressively occupied the previously neuron-depleted area of the adult host CNS. They organized themselves into a neonucleus with particular cytoarchitectural features including 1) the existence of two concentric zones--a central zone containing neurons and glial cells and a marginal zone only filled with a band of glial cells, 2) an increase in cellular density compared to the intact thalamus, 3) the grouping of neurons in spherical clusters, and 4) apparent polymorphism of neuronal somata. Lemniscal and corticothalamic afferents originating from the host were observed in the neonucleus when the fetal neurons had been implanted correctly into the lesioned area but not when they had been misplaced into either normal thalamic tissue or the internal capsule. The afferents labeled from either the dorsal column nuclei or the somatosensory cortex were, however, less dense in the neonucleus than in the normal thalamus. These results are discussed with regard to the normal cytoarchitecture and connectivity of the ventrobasal complex of the rat thalamus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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