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Expression of the extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin in the somatosensory cortex of the mouse during postnatal development: an immunocytochemical andin situ hybridization analysis


Layer 4 of the rodent somatosensory cortex contains the barrel field which is the cortical representation of the whisker pad located on the contralateral side of the face. Each barrel within the barrel field is related one to one to its corresponding whisker both anatomically and physiologically. The astrocyte-derived extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin has been shown by immunocytochemistry to delineate the boundaries between barrels during their formation until the end of the second postnatal week. The present study describes the anatomical localization of tenascin mRNA expressing cells in the somatosensory cortex of the mouse from birth to postnatal day 15. During this time, a general down-regulation of tenascin-specific message was observed as a function of the state of maturation, with layers 5 and 6 down-regulating the message earlier than layers 1 and 2/3. Tenascin (as detected by immunocytochemistry) also revealed this gradual down-regulation with maturation. Layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex was different in that, with the onset of formation of barrel field boundaries at postnatal day 3, tenascin protein and mRNA were down-regulated more in layer 4 than in the upper and the lower layers of the somatosensory cortex and, interestingly, not in layer 4 of adjacent cortical areas. At postnatal day 6 tenascin immunoreactivity was most clearly distinguished in the barrel field boundaries while tenascin-specific mRNA was no longer detectable in layer 4. Down-regulation of tenascin message was also seen at P6 at the level of the enlarged barrel corresponding to an early postnatal lesioned row of whiskers. At postnatal day 15, tenascin protein and mRNA were no longer detectable in the somatosensory cortex. Distribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity did not reveal any preferential accumulation of GFAP-positive radial glial processes in barrel field hollows versus barrel field boundaries at any stage.

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Mitrovic, N., Dörries, U. & Schachner, M. Expression of the extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin in the somatosensory cortex of the mouse during postnatal development: an immunocytochemical andin situ hybridization analysis. J Neurocytol 23, 364–378 (1994).

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  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Contralateral Side
  • Somatosensory Cortex
  • Postnatal Development
  • Protein Immunoreactivity