Restoration of thalamostriatal projections in rat neostriatal grafts: An electron microscopic analysis

Z. C. Xu, C. J. Wilson, P. C. Emson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


The thalamostriatal projections to rat neostriatal grafts were studied by using the Phaseolus vulgaris‐leucoagglutinin (PHA‐L) axonal tracing technique. Two to 6 months after implantation of striatal primordia into adult neostriata, PHA‐L was injected into two different portions of the intralaminar nuclear complex of the thalamus. In the host neostriatum, labeled fibers from the parafascicular nucleus (PF) arborized in a large region in the neostriatum, but avoided small patchlike areas. Most of the fibers from PF had irregular curved trajectories with short side branches that formed boutons. Labeled fibers from the centromedial and paracentral nuclei (CeM‐PC) projected to a similarly large area within the neostriatum but did not show any nonuniformity. CeM‐PC axons had relatively straight trajectories and formed boutons en passant. Both sets of thalamostriatal projection fibers were found in the grafts. Some of the labeled fibers in the grafts formed dense, focal arborizations. Compared to the host neostriatum, the distribution of postsynaptic elements in the grafts was altered dramatically. In the host neostriatum, 89% of the terminals from PF terminated onto dendritic shafts; 93% of the CeM‐PC terminals contacted dendritic spines. However, only 47% of the PF terminals in the grafts contacted dendritic shafts; 53% of them terminated on dendritic spines. In grafts, 81% of the terminals from CeM‐PC region contacted dendritic spines; 19% of them made synapses on dendritic shafts. The shift of postsynaptic elements in the grafts suggests a loss of pathway specificity in the induction of dendritic spines on neostriatal neurons in grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • axonal tracing
  • brain grafts
  • striatal transplants
  • thalamostriatal pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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