Developmental plasticity of ascending spinal axons studies using the north american opossum, Didelphis virginiana

Jonathan R. Terman, Xian M. Wang, George F. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objectives of the present study were to determine if axons of all ascending tracts grow through the lesion after transection of the thoracic spinal cord during development in the North American opossum, and if so, whether they reach regions of the brain they normally innervate. Opossum pups were subjected to transection of the mid-thoracic cord at PD5, PD8, PD12, PD20, or PD26 and injections of Fast Blue (FB) into the lower thoracic or upper lumbar cord 30-40 days or 6 months later. In the PD5 transected cases, labeled axons were present in all of the supraspinal areas labeled by comparable injections in unlesioned, age-matched controls. In the experimental cases, however, labeled axons appeared to be fewer in number and in some areas more restricted in location than in the controls. When lesions were made at PD8, labeled axons were present in the brain of animals allowed to survive 30-40 days prior to FB injections but they were not observed in those allowed to survive 6 months. When lesions were made at PD12 or later, labeled axons were never found rostral to the lesion. It appears, therefore, that axons of all ascending spinal pathways grow though the lesion after transection of the thoracic cord in developing opossums and that they innervate appropriate areas of the brain. Interestingly, the critical period for such growth is shorter than that for most descending axons, suggesting that factors which influence loss of developmental plasticity are not the same for all axons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 11 1999

Keywords

  • Fasciculus gracilis
  • Marsupial
  • Regeneration
  • Spinobulbar
  • Spinocerebellar
  • Spinothalamic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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