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J Neurosci Res. 1996 Jun 15;44(6):532-9.

Quantitative changes of GABA-immunoreactive cells in the hindlimb representation of the rat somatosensory cortex after 14-day hindlimb unloading by tail suspension.

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San Jose State University Foundation, California.
San Jose Univ Found, CA


The present study was aimed at evaluating quantitatively gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) immunoreactivity in the hindlimb representation of the rat somatosensory cortex after 14 days of hindlimb unloading by tail suspension. A reduction in the number of GABA-immunoreactive cells with respect to the control animals was observed in layer Va and Vb. GABA-containing terminals were also reduced in the same layers, particularly those terminals surrounding the soma and apical dendrites of pyramidal cells in layer Vb. On the basis of previous morphological and behavioral studies of the neuromuscular system of hindlimb-suspended animals, it is suggested that the unloading due to hindlimb suspension alters afferent signaling and feedback information from intramuscular receptors to the cerebral cortex due to modifications in the reflex organization of hindlimb muscle groups. We propose that the reduction in immunoreactivity of local circuit GABAergic neurons and terminals is an expression of changes in their modulatory activity to compensate for the alterations in the afferent information.

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