Generation of striatal projection neurons extends into the neonatal period in the rat brain
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2012 The Physiological Society
The Journal of Physiology
Volume 591, Issue 1, pages 67–76, January 2013
How to Cite
Wright, J., Stanic, D. and Thompson, L. H. (2013), Generation of striatal projection neurons extends into the neonatal period in the rat brain. The Journal of Physiology, 591: 67–76. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.246397
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 30 NOV 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 2 NOV 2012 09:19AM EST
- (Resubmitted 8 October 2012; accepted 30 October 2012; first published online 5 November 2012)
- • Studies on postnatal neurogenesis as a constitutive physiological process have largely focused on the adult brain.
- • This study identifies and characterises a continued period of striatal neurogenesis under normal physiological conditions in the neonatal brain.
- • Birth-dating studies show a peak production of striatal projection neuron generation at postnatal day 0 that declines sharply within the first postnatal week.
- • New striatal projection neurons integrate appropriately into existing circuitry through target-directed innervation of appropriate sub-striatal structures.
- • The results are highly relevant for the development of regenerative strategies for neonatal brain repair.
Abstract Substantial advances have been made in the last decade on our understanding of the basic physiology underlying neurogenesis in the postnatal mammalian brain. The bulk of the work in this area has been based on analysis of the adult brain. Relatively less is known about the capacity for neurogenesis in specific structures within the neonatal brain. Here we report that the production of medium spiny striatal projection neurons extends into the early neonatal period under normal physiological conditions in the rat brain. Birth-dating of newborn cells with bromodeoxyuridine at postnatal days 0, 2 and 5 showed a peak production close to birth, which sharply declined at the later time-points. Additionally, there was a low-level but stable contribution of neurons with interneuron identity over the same time-period. Importantly, retroviral labelling of new striatal projection neurons with green fluorescent protein showed long-term survival and terminal differentiation with characteristic morphology, including highly elaborated spiny dendrites, and appropriate axonal targeting of the globus pallidus and midbrain. This latent period of striatal neurogenesis in the early neonatal brain represents an interesting target for regenerative approaches aimed at restoring striatal circuitry in perinatal pathologies, such as hypoxic and ischaemic damage associated with cerebral palsy.