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Retraction of muscle afferents from the rat ventral horn during development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gavin ClowryORCiD


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The postnatal reorganization of rat proprioreceptive muscle afferent spinal terminal fields was explored by labelling transganglionically afferents from extensor digitorum communis with cholera toxin B sub-unit at different ages. Immunocytochemistry revealed labelled afferents in all segments examined (C4-T2) as well as retrogradely labelled motoneurones (C5- T1). Dorsal horn innervation appeared similar at all ages, but there were striking changes in the ventral horn. Many afferent boutons were seen closely apposed to labelled motoneurone proximal dendrites at postnatal day 7 (P7) and P14, but in the adult such contacts were almost entirely confined to distal dendrites. Between P7 and adult, a significant decrease in bouton density was found in the area dorsomedial to the labelled motoneurones that contained labelled dendrites and antagonist motoneurones. This anatomical reorganization may explain both the increasing stretch reflex threshold and its concomitant decrease in magnitude with age, and the reduction in excitatory connections to antagonist motoneurones, previously described in developmental neurophysiological studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gibson CL, Clowry GJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: NeuroReport

Year: 1999

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Pages: 231-235

Print publication date: 05/02/1999

ISSN (print): 0959-4965

ISSN (electronic): 1473-558X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/00001756-199902050-00006

PubMed id: 10203314


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