Histochemical evidence of altered development of cholinergic fibers in the rat dentate gyrus following lesions. II. Effects of partial entorhinal and simultaneous multiple lesions.
It has been concluded previously that the septohippocampal fibers which project to the rat dentate gyrus extend or branch in the denervated area of the molecular layer following a complete ipsilateral entorhinal lesion. The septohippocampal fibers thus appear to replace some of the perforant fibers which degenerate as a result of the lesion. The reactive fibers eventually become localized to a much smaller and more superficial area after lesions of immature rats than after lesions made in adulthood. To determine whether this difference in the response results from a selective reaction to loss of the lateral perforant path in the immature rat, various portions of the entorhinal cortex were removed at the age of 11 days, and the cholinergic septohippocampal fibers were visualized by acetylcholinesterase histochemistry. An alternative possibility, that the difference between immature and adult rats is attributable to an interaction with other reactive afferents, was tested by removing other sources of input (the contralateral entorhinal cortex, contralateral hippocampal formation or both) along with the ipsilateral entorhinal cortex at the age of 11 days and then demonstrating the septohippocampal fibers histochemically. Lesions of the lateral part of the ipsilateral entorhinal cortex (source of the lateral perforant path) at 11 days of age evoked a septohippocampal reaction along the outer edge of the molecular layer, where the lateral perforant path fibers normally terminate. This result matched that produced by a complete entorhinal lesion. Lesions of the medial entorhinal cortex evoked no obvious reaction. In contrast, the septohippocampal fibers in adult rats proliferated in the denervated area of the molecular layer after lesions of either part of the entorhinal cortex. Combining lesions of other sources of innervation to the dentate gyrus with an ipsilateral entorhinal lesion at 11 days of age did not alter the response of septohippocampal fibers, as determined histochemically. Neither did the septohippocampal fibers react to removal of commissural afferents alone. The response at any age was unaffected by prior or subsequent removal of the contralateral entorhinal cortex. These results indicate that in immature rats the septohippocampal fibers respond only to loss of the lateral perforant path, but these same fibers can later react to loss of any part of the perforant path. They are regarded as support for the hypothesis that the reactive septohippocampal fibers preferentially interact with dendritic growth cones. Our results do not support explanations based on a hypothetical attraction between septohippocampal and crossed perforant path fibers (which react in the same area) or on competition with commissural fibers (which reinnervate an adjacent area). We suggest further that proximity to the degenerating elements does not in itself determine the pattern of reinnervation after lesions of the central nervous system.
Nadler, JV; Cotman, CW; Paoletti, C; Lynch, GS
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