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Neuronal interconnections in the mammalian brain

Intracerebral grafting is considered today a powerful tool for addressing fundamental questions about development and regenerative phenomena in the central nervous system (CNS) and as a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Recent laboratory observations suggest that molecules which are necessary for axon guidance in the developing CNS are re-expressed after lesions and that regenerating axons are able to recognize such guidance cues. Thus regenerating axons might be able to re-establish topographically ordered functional synapses in their target regions.

The main purpose of the project was to extend the knowledge of the factors controlling host-graft interconnections during neural development or during the process of regeneration. The participants: to determine the factors that lead a transplanted cell to attract host specific afferents; make this cell to develop efferents towards specific targets of the host; to assess the functional integration of the graft with the host CNS by using electrophysiological or metabolic indicators or by studying some aspects of gene expression by the transplant cells. Neurotransplantations were first performed in adult rats and the electrophysiological responses of the transplant neurons were examined Some of the experimental animals were taken to Poitiers and neuronatomical examinations were performed on these subjects. A second series of animals were then prepared. Electrophysiological data were collected and some animals were again brought to Poitiers. The anatomical observations on these animals were performed thereafter in Poitiers. At the Institute of Ophthalmology, work was carried out on the physiological analysis of the effect of the progressive retinal degeneration occurring in the RCS rat and the visual cortex of rats undergoing progressive retinal degeneration was studied.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Av Recteur Pineau 40
86022 Poitiers
France
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