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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1997 Jul 18;101(1-2):107-14.

Influence of the neuropeptide somatostatin on the development of dendritic morphology: a cysteamine-depletion study in the rat auditory brainstem.

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Zentrum der Physiologie, Klinikum der Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universit├Ąt Frankfurt, Germany.


We investigated the functional role of somatostatin during early ontogeny of the brain, when the neuropeptide as well as its receptors are heavily expressed in the auditory brainstem. Rat pups received a daily injection of cysteamine which, when applied at low concentrations, most selectively depletes somatostatin. Neurons from the lateral superior olive, an auditory brainstem nucleus which transiently receives a dense somatostatinergic input, were intracellularly labeled at postnatal day 14 or 18. The dendritic morphology of these neurons was then analyzed quantitatively and compared with neurons from controls. Cysteamine treatment induced a reduction of the number of dendritic end points by more than 50%. At postnatal day 14, for example, controls and somatostatin-depleted animals had an average of 58 and 28 end points, respectively. The number of primary dendrites was also significantly reduced by cysteamine. In contrast, the size of the somata, the orientation of the dendritic trees within the lateral superior olive, the dendritic areas, and the cross-sectional size of the lateral superior olive were not altered. These results indicate that somatostatin depletion during early development has profound effects on the maturation of dendritic morphology. The selective influence on the dendritic trees suggests that somatostatin acts as an endogenous trophic peptide and promotes the achievement of dendritic complexity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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