Tectal tissue from E15 or E16 Wistar rat embryos was dissociated and reaggregated (DR) prior to transplantation on to the midbrain of newborn host rats. We wished to determine how complete disruption of the donor tissue (i) affected the subsequent morphological development of the grafts in the host brain, and (ii) whether this procedure affected the selectivity with which host retinal axons innervated target regions in the tectal transplants. Forty-three to 135 days after transplantation, host rats received binocular injections of wheatgerm agglutinin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase. After perfusion, frozen sections of the grafts and underlying host brainstem were cut and reacted with tetramethylbenzidine to identify retinal projections, or stained for either acetylcholinesterase (AChE), Nissl or neurofibrils. All host brains contained identifiable DR grafts. Each brain contained at least one large transplant and numerous smaller pieces of graft tissue. The fragmentation of DR grafts was greater than that seen in direct, undissociated tectal transplants; however the morphology of individual DR grafts was markedly similar to direct grafts. Of particular interest was the presence in DR grafts of localized, often oval or circular regions, that possessed high AChE activity and contained mostly small (5 to 10-mu-m) close-packed neurons. AChE-dense patches were found both superficially and deep within DR grafts and appeared identical to those seen in direct transplants. These regions are thought to be homologous to the superficial, retinorecipient layers of normal superior colliculus (SC) and it is likely that the formation of these localized areas resulted from the selective association of presumptive SGS neurons within the reaggregating neuropil. In almost all cases, host retinal input to DR grafts was confined to the localized AChE-dense patches, suggesting that despite the dissociation procedure, specific retinal innervation of regions containing at least some of the appropriate target cells was maintained in DR tectal grafts.
|Journal||Experimental Brain Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1992|