Activity-dependent codevelopment of the corticospinal system and target interneurons in the cervical spinal cord.

Article date: 2009/8/4

PubMed ID: 2713981

Journal name: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience (ISSN: 1529-2401)

DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0735-09.2009


Corticospinal tract (CST) connections to spinal interneurons are conserved across species. We identified spinal interneuronal populations targeted by the CST in the cervical enlargement of the cat during development. We focused on the periods before and after laminar refinement of the CST terminations, between weeks 5 and 7. We used immunohistochemistry of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin to mark interneurons. We first compared interneuron marker distribution before and after CST refinement. ChAT interneurons increased, while calbindin interneurons decreased during this period. No significant changes were noted in parvalbumin and calretinin. We next used anterograde labeling to determine whether the CST targets different interneuron populations before and after the refinement period. Before refinement, the CST terminated sparsely where calbindin interneurons were located and spared ChAT interneurons. After refinement, the CST no longer terminated in calbindin-expressing areas but did so where ChAT interneurons were located. Remarkably, early CST terminations were dense where ChAT interneurons later increased in numbers. Finally, we determined whether corticospinal system activity was necessary for the ChAT and calbindin changes. We unilaterally inactivated M1 between weeks 5 and 7 by muscimol infusion. Inactivation resulted in a distribution of calbindin and ChAT in spinal gray matter regions where the CST terminates that resembled the immature more than mature pattern. Our results show that the CST plays a crucial role in restructuring spinal motor circuits during development, possibly through trophic support, and provide strong evidence for the importance of connections with key spinal interneuron populations in development of motor control functions.

Author List: Chakrabarty Samit, Shulman Brandon, Martin John H

Publication Types: Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Substances mentioned in the article: Choline O-Acetyltransferase;

Mesh terms: Action Potentials/physiology; Animals; Cats; Cell Differentiation/physiology; Cervical Vertebrae/enzymology; Choline O-Acetyltransferase/biosynthesis; Female; Interneurons/cytology; Neurogenesis/physiology; Pyramidal Tracts/enzymology; Spinal Cord/cytology;

Citations: - 2707358

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