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J Comp Neurol. 1986 Apr 15;246(3):395-408.

Postnatal changes in arborization patterns of murine retinocollicular axons.


The growth and arborization of murine retinocollicular axons have been studied by means of HRP axon filling during postnatal development. Transformations in arborization patterns have been correlated with changes in synaptic density in the superficial collicular neuropil and with the formation of synapses by HRP-filled axons. At all postnatal ages axons of the optic projection are fasciculated and most follow a rostrocaudally aligned path. On the day of birth the axons course through both stratum griseum superficiale (SGS) and stratum opticum (SO); during the following 4 days the axon trunks disappear from SGS and are subsequently found only in SO. From postnatal day (P) 0 to P3, the majority continue far caudally in the colliculus, giving rise to small ascending collaterals at multiple points along their course. Ultimately, usually by P3, one or two collaterals begin to branch profusely and by P5 the majority of axons give rise to a focal terminal ascending arborization. The general configuration of most arborizations at P3 approximates that of the mature axon. However, the richness of terminal branching increases from P3 through the first 2 postnatal weeks. Synaptic density is relatively low in the first postnatal week, and no synapses involving HRP-filled optic axons were identified in this interval. Subsequently, after elaboration of definitive arbors has begun, synaptogenesis in the surrounding neuropil accelerates. Synaptic density in the upper SGS approximates adult values early in the third postnatal week. By this time synaptic junctions involving the terminal arborizations of optic axons are abundant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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