Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 1994 Mar;59(1):33-41.

Tropism and corticospinal target selection in the rat.

Author information

Neurology Research Laboratory, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Layer V pyramidal cells in the intermediate part of the cerebral cortex enter the lumbar spinal gray, but not the cervical spinal gray matter, during the first postnatal week. To study if the ingrowth of intermediate corticospinal axons into the lumbar spinal gray is guided by a diffusible tropic factor, we co-cultured explants of the intermediate part of the sensorimotor cortex and of the lumbar spinal gray matter in 3-D collagen gels. Using this test system, a target specific directional growth of cortical axons towards the lumbar spinal gray explant can be demonstrated in vitro. Retrograde labeling indicates that most labeled cell bodies were located in layer V of the cortex explant and were characterized by a pyramidal cell shape. Furthermore, axon behavior of retrogradely labeled neurons within the cortical explant is considerably affected by the presence of lumbar spinal gray target tissue. In contrast to lumbar spinal gray innervation, intermediate corticospinal tract axons do not enter the cervical spinal gray in vivo. Is it the inability of intermediate corticospinal tract axons to respond to cervical target-derived influences? In the current study we co-cultured explants of the intermediate cortex and cervical spinal gray matter in 3-D collagen gels. Our data indicate that in vitro axons from layer V neurons in the intermediate part of the cortex are capable of recognizing and responding to a diffusible factor released by the cervical spinal cord target area.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center