Myelination in the hippocampus during development and following lesion
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Myelin is crucial for the stabilization of axonal projections in the developing and adult mammalian brain. However, myelin components also act as a non-permissive and repellent substrate for outgrowing axons. Therefore, one major factor which accounts for the lack of axonal regeneration in the mature brain is myelin. Here we report on the appearance of mature, fully myelinated axons during hippocampal development and following entorhinal lesion with the myelin-specific marker Black Gold. Although entorhinal axons enter the hippocampal formation at embryonic day 17, light and ultrastructural analysis revealed that mature myelinated fibers in the hippocampus occur in the second postnatal week. During postnatal development, increasing numbers of myelinated fibers appear and the distribution of myelinated fibers at postnatal day 25 was similar to that found in the adult. After entorhinal cortex lesion, a specific anterograde denervation in the hippocampus takes place, accompanied by a long-lasting loss of myelin. Quantitative analysis of myelin and myelin breakdown products at different time points after lesion revealed a temporally close correlation to the degeneration and reorganization pha-ses in the hippocampus. In contrast, electroconvulsive seizures resulted in brief demyelination and a faster recovery time course. In conclusion, we could show that the appearance of mature axons in the hippocampus is temporally regulated during development. In the adult hippocampus, demyelination was found after anterograde degeneration and also following seizures, suggesting that independent types of insult lead to demyelination. Reappearing mature axons were found in the hippocampus following axonal sprouting. Therefore, our quantitative analysis of mature axons and myelination effectively reflects the readjusted axonal density and possible electrophysiological balance following lesion.
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