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Brain Res. 1986 Jan;389(1-2):239-51.

Postnatal differentiation and growth of cat entopeduncular neurons. A transient spiny period associated with branch elongation.


Qualitative and computer-assisted analyses were performed on Golgi-impregnated neurons which were serially reconstructed in 3 dimensions. Analysis of the temporal pattern of growth indicated that the initial outgrowth, formation of the adult number of dendrites and virtually all dendritic branching occurred in the prenatal period. About 40% of the total growth of the dendrites occurred in the postnatal period. Maturation was completed by 90-120 days. Analyses of the mode of dendritic growth and of the morphological changes associated with growth revealed two significant findings. First, the outward expansion of the dendritic tree was not due to the addition of new branches but resulted from the elongation of terminal and non-terminal branches. Thus, growth occurred between branch points as well as on terminal portions of dendrites. Second, a transient population of spines was found during the period of postnatal growth. These spines may play an integral role in synaptogenesis and dendritic branch elongation. We suggest that developing afferent fibers initially contact spines. As spines retract, axon terminals are brought to the shaft of the dendrites. Further, the dendrites elongated because membrane associated with spines is incorporated into the shafts of dendrites. Striopallidal projections and other afferents may provide an important trophic influence for the normal dendritic differentiation of pallidal neurons by inducing the elaboration or retraction of spines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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