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Synapses formed by identified retinogeniculate axons during the segregation of eye input.

Campbell, G; Shatz, CJ; (1992) Synapses formed by identified retinogeniculate axons during the segregation of eye input. Journal of Neuroscience , 12 1847 - 1858. Green open access

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Abstract

The synaptic organization of identified retinogeniculate axons was studied during the prenatal development of eye-specific layers in the LGN of the cat. During this period, retinogeniculate axons undergo stereotyped morphological changes. Retinogeniculate axons originating from one eye and passing through LGN territory destined to be solely innervated by the other eye (inappropriate territory) initially give rise to many side branches. As the eye-specific layers emerge, these axons elaborate extensive terminal arbors within territory appropriate to their eye of origin and concurrently retract their side branches from inappropriate territory (Sretavan and Shatz, 1986). These transient side branches may therefore represent a morphological substrate for the observed functional convergence of inputs from the two eyes onto common LGN neurons during prenatal development (Shatz and Kirkwood, 1984). This possibility was investigated by examining whether identified axons and their side branches form synapses in inappropriate territory. Three retinogeniculate axons from two fetuses aged embryonic day 53 (E53) and E57 were filled with HRP in an in vitro preparation, prior to being processed for electron microscopy (EM). The HRP-filled axons, originating from the contralateral eye, were first reconstructed at the light microscope level. The portion of axon passing through the center of ipsilaterally innervated layer A1 was then serially sectioned and reconstructed by EM. Two sets of 450 serial EM sections revealed that all three contralateral axons established synaptic contacts in ipsilateral territory. Many of these synapses were made by side branches and a few were even formed by the main axon trunks. Both side branches and trunks formed mainly en passant asymmetrical contacts that were associated with spherical synaptic vesicles and that were apposed to immature dendritic elements and dendritic shafts. For comparison, a portion of the same E53 axon within the future contralateral layer A was also serially sectioned and reconstructed for EM. Within this contralateral zone, the E53 axon formed synaptic contacts similar to those established in the ipsilateral region, except that in the appropriate zone they contained significantly more synaptic vesicles. These results demonstrate that axons from the contralateral eye can establish synapses in territory simultaneously innervated by the ipsilateral eye, both via side branches and by means of contacts along the main axon trunk. Thus, the development of eye-specific layers is accompanied by the formation and subsequent elimination of synapses that almost certainly represent a morphological substrate for the known transient functional convergence of inputs from the two eyes.

Type: Article
Title: Synapses formed by identified retinogeniculate axons during the segregation of eye input.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The license allows you to copy, distribute, and transmit the work, as well as adapting it. However, you must attribute the work to the author (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work), and cannot use the work for commercial purposes without prior permission of the author. If you alter or build upon this work, you can distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/148721
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