The origins of descending projections to the lumbar spinal cord at different stages of development in the North American opossum

G. F. Martin, R. R. Pindzola, X. M. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


We have employed the retrograde transport of fast blue (FB) to identify the origins of descending projections to the lumbar cord of the opossum from postnatal day (PD)1, 12-13 days after conception, to maturity. When FB injections were made into the lumbar cord at PD1, supraspinal labeling was sparse and limited to the hypothalamus, the reticular formation, the coeruleus complex, the caudal raphe, and, in one case, the interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fasciculus and the lateral vestibular nucleus. Only a few propriospinal neurons were labeled at cervical and thoracic levels. By PD3, however, supraspinal and propriospinal labeling was abundant and present in most of the areas labeled in the adult animal. A notable exception was the red nucleus which was not labeled until approximately PD10. Our results have been compared with those described in other species and discussed in light of their relevance to the development of descending control over hindlimb movement and developmental plasticity of descending spinal pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1993



  • Hypothalamus
  • Lateral hypothalamus
  • Locus coeruleus
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Propriospinal neurons
  • Raphe nuclei
  • Red nucleus
  • Reticular formation
  • Vestibular nuclei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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