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Brain Res. 1984 Jan;314(1):27-37.

Transplantation of tectal tissue in rats. IV. Maturation of transplants and development of host retinal projection.


We have examined the time course of maturation of embryonic tectal tissue transplanted to the midbrain region of newborn rats and studied the development of the host retinal projection to the grafts. Transplants were examined 2-19 days after transplantation. The morphology of developing transplants was studied using Holmes silver and neutral red stained material. Tectal transplants attained their mature morphology about 17 days after transplantation. The time course of tectal transplant maturation appeared to be similar to that of normal superior colliculus in situ. The development of the host retinal projection into the transplants was examined by injecting the host eyes with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) at various times after transplantation. Retinal fibers anterogradely labeled with HRP were first seen growing into the transplants 3-4 days after transplantation. Ingrowing fibers were always located close to the surface of the transplants. The rate of growth of optic axons into the grafts was estimated to be about 250 to 300 micron per day. Patch-like arborizations of retinal afferents were formed soon after innervation and the mature pattern of optic innervation was established by about two weeks. There was no evidence for an initial transitory phase in which the axons invaded the whole transplant. The development of the host retinal projection preceded morphological maturation of the transplants. The mode of ingrowth of retinal axons into tectal grafts was in many respects similar to the way optic fibers grow into the superior colliculus during normal in situ development. The transplant technique thus provides an opportunity to manipulate and analyze the factors which guide optic fiber growth in intact brains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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