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Nature. 1984 Jan 19-25;307(5948):262-4.

Effect of impulse blockage on cytochrome oxidase activity in monkey visual system.


Cytochrome oxidase (cytochrome c oxidase; ferrocytochrome c: oxygen oxidoreductase, EC has been introduced as an oxidative metabolic marker for neurones in the central nervous system. Previous studies have shown that mature neurones remained sensitive to altered functional demands, and that both developing and adult neurones responded to sensory deprivation or deafferentation by reducing their cytochrome oxidase (Cyt. Ox.) activity. More recently, we showed that the blockage of retinal impulse transmission with tetrodotoxin led to a reversible reduction in Cyt. Ox. staining of affected lateral geniculate (LGN) and striate neurones in adult cats. The present study sought to extend these findings to adult monkeys, where Cyt. Ox. 'puffs' or 'blobs' are uniquely present in the visual cortex. We found that, while the retina remained histologically intact, with only moderate decreases in Cyt. Ox. staining of large ganglion cells and the two plexiform layers, subtle changes occurred in the LGN as early as 1 day post-tetrodotoxin injection, and clear reduction in enzyme levels was evident in both the LGN and the visual cortex by 3 days. Changes became progressively more severe up to 4 weeks post-injection. Within area 17, alternating bands of high and low Cyt. Ox. staining occurred in lamina IV, with alternating rows of dark and lightly reactive puffs superimposed in exact register. Thus, the mature visual neurones in the primate remain extremely sensitive to the cessation of retinal impulse transmission, and plastic metabolic changes occur through several synapses along the sensory pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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