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Developmental expression of parvalbumin by rat lower cervical spinal cord neurones and the effect of early lesions to the motor cortex

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gavin ClowryORCiD, Gordon Arnott


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Expression of calcium binding proteins (CaBPs), increasing neuronal activity and phases of synapse elimination are widely believed to be linked during development. We have employed immunocytochemistry to study the expression of the CaBP parvalbumin (PV) during the postnatal development of the lower cervical spinal cord and investigated how early lesions to the motor cortex, at the onset of corticospinal synaptogenesis, perturb the normal pattern of PV expression. This study confirms previous observations that in normal rats PV-like immunoreactivity is confined to large sensory afferents for at least 10 days postnatally (P10) and that the adult pattern of expression emerges from about P18 and involves mainly dorsal horn neurones. However, the study has also demonstrated a transient wave of expression in ventral horn neurones which reaches a maximum between P14-18 and declines thereafter. Unilateral lesions made at P7 to the forelimb motor cortex, which sends an almost completely crossed projection to the spinal cord, resulted in reduced neuronal expression of PV in the lower cervical spinal cord contralaterally at a range of ages (P14-31). The median ratio of PV positive neurones contralateral/ipsilateral to the lesion in spinal cord segments C7 and C8 was significantly lower (p < 0.01) at 56.0% (34.5-76.8 95% confidence limits, n = 14) than in sham operated controls (99.7%, range 93.7- 113.6, n = 5). The lesion affected the transient wave of expression seen in ventral horn neurones during the third postnatal week as well as dorsal horn expression at older ages. We conclude that there is considerable plasticity in PV immunoreactivity during spinal cord development. PV is transiently expressed by ventral horn neurones at an age when movement control is functionally maturing. Early cortical lesions disrupt this transient phase of expression but also alter mature patterns of PV localisation. This suggests a critical role for corticospinal pathways in guiding maturation of segmental spinal cord circuitry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clowry GJ, Fallah Z, Arnott G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Developmental Brain Research

Year: 1997

Volume: 102

Issue: 2

Pages: 197-208

Print publication date: 20/09/1997

ISSN (print): 0165-3806

ISSN (electronic): 0006-8993

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/S0165-3806(97)00098-9

PubMed id: 9352102


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