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Postnatal development of somatostatin-containing neurons in the visual cortex of normal and dark-reared rats

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The distribution of somatostatin (SRIF)-immunoreactive neurons in the visual cortical areas 17, 18 and 18a of Wistar rats from birth to adulthood was followed in both normal and dark-reared animals. The SRIF neurons show difference in distribution amongst the three cortical areas studied as early as the first postnatal week. Area 17 was distinguished by fewer SRIF cells in the upper layers (I–III), which results in a lower overall density. The SRIF neurons in all areas appeared to increase in numbers up to about 3 weeks and then decline dramatically to adult levels, which were 14–19% of the peak levels. Although this decline was still obvious, it moderated to 25–31% in dark-reared animals. The greatest effect was seen in area 18 where, at 60 days of age, there were twice as many SRIF cells in darkreared as in normal controls. It is suggested that, under conditions of dark rearing, the overall pattern of development of SRIF neurons, being uninfluenced by extrinsic factors, reveals the cells' genetic potential.

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Papadopoulos, G.C., Cavanagh, M.E., Antonopoulos, J. et al. Postnatal development of somatostatin-containing neurons in the visual cortex of normal and dark-reared rats. Exp Brain Res 92, 473–478 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00229035

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Key words

  • Somatostatin
  • Visual deprivation
  • Cortical areas 17, 18, 18a
  • Transience
  • Rat