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Thyroxin dependency of the developing locus coeruleus

Evidence from intraocular grafting experiments

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  • 11 Citations

Summary

Surgical thyroidectomies were used as means of altering the thyroid state of adult recipients to study the possible influence of thyroid hormones on fibre formation in irides by immature noradrenaline neurons of the locus coeruleus grafted to the eye. Whole-mount preparations of irides were analysed using fluorescence histochemistry according to Falck-Hillarp, subjectively estimating on a ‘blind’ basis the number of fibres, their pattern of distribution and individual morphology in the iris dilator plate. Neurones of the locus coeruleus formed nerve fibres in irides of thyroidectomized recipients to the same extent as in controls. Distribution and fine structure of these fibres, however, differed markedly. The numerous thick axon bundles from the attachment of the brain graft, normally seen to radiate out from locus coeruleus-neurones in oculo, were almost totally lacking in the thyroidectomized group. Also, the individual nerve fibres showed abundant peripheral accumulations of fluorescent material. This appearance of the outgrowth of fluorescent fibres in the experimental group, indicative of a disturbed formation of nerve fibres during development in oculo, was abolished by reversal of the thyroid hormone deficiency using daily injections of 1-thyroxin to the recipients throughout the experiment. This strongly indicates a role for thyroxin in the process of formation of nerve fibres originating from the neurones of the locus coeruleus during perinatal development. The present paper is supportive of recent reports claiming that during the development of the CNS thyroxin plays a crucial role in tubulin assembly, and thus presumably for the ability of neurones to form processes.

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Correspondence to Dr. Åke Seiger.

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Seiger, Å., Granholm, A. Thyroxin dependency of the developing locus coeruleus. Cell Tissue Res. 220, 1–15 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00209961

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Key words

  • Surgical thyroidectomy
  • Intraocular brain grafting
  • Locus coeruleus noradrenaline neurones
  • Monoamine fluorescence histochemistry
  • Thyroxin and development
  • Nerve fibre growth